The 'Kosher' Smartphone Debuts in Israel

New mobile is the world's first Yiddish phone.

Published: April 30th 2011
in Economics » Israel

Accel Telecom is offering a phone for the ultra-Orthodox clients

An Israeli mobile company is now offering its ultra-Orthodox clients a new ‘kosher’ Smartphone equipped with all the latest bells and whistles you’d expect, plus some you wouldn’t, namely Hasidic folk music ringtones and an unprecedented Yiddish menu.


Many companies have addressed the religious market by offering phones with no Internet access, no email service or access to any of the social networks which could expose the users to content which they might find tempting. However, this is the first time a company has offered its services in Yiddish.


The kosher phone, which cannot send or receive text messages, and has no camera also makes those who make a call during Shabbat pay – literally and figuratively - with the exorbitant price of NIS 10 shekels ($2.93 US) per minute.


It took about four months for a pair ultra-Orthodox translators to create the Yiddish interface for the device, which is written in Hebrew characters and makes use of words such as "Schirm Verteidikung" (screensaver) and "Klingen" (ringtone).


The device’s importer, Accel Telecom, also went to great extremes to prove that the more technologically savvy users would not be able to jailbreak the phone and use it as they wish. "It is not simple to make the phones kosher and bring them to a level in which you prove that the phone cannot be breached or changed in such a way that it will be possible to send text messages or surf the Internet with it," said Accel CEO Mark Seelenfreund.

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