For all the benefits smartphones have brought us, there's no denying that they, and cellphones in general, have had some negative impact on manners and propriety. Many people no longer think twice about checking-out at a grocery store while on a call the entire time, perhaps not even saying a word to the cashier directly. For some of us, these kind of lapses mean we forget that our phones' speakerphones are for use in private, and not for broadcasting both sides of our conversations to the general public just because we don't feel like holding the phone to our ear. If that one in particular is a pet peeve of yours, you'll be glad to hear about one of Kyocera's latest creations, a smartphone with no external speaker.
Instead of hearing the person you're speaking to through an earpiece, Kyocera's device transmits audio as imperceptible vibrations. When you hold the phone up to your head, those vibrations are received by your ear and understood as sound. The technology is robust enough to work through clothing, hats, and even other headphones.
It's fitting that this phone will first hit KDDI in Japan, as Japanese culture is often associated with a robust code of etiquette, which seems like a perfect match for this technology. Even still, there are plenty of us in the West who would love to see phones like these become popular here, too.