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Cartridges for your smartphones? Yah, it's a thing now

A Japan-based company called Beatrobo is working to bring unique cartridges to your phones and tablets.

Published onSeptember 21, 2015


While some people truly enjoy the feeling of ownership that comes with having a physical disc or cartridge, most of us are more than happy with the extra convenience provided by software downloads. But for those that long for the bygone cartridge era, Japan-based Beatrobo has you covered with its unique new “cartridge technology”, designed for your phones and tablets.

Formally dubbed Pico Cassettes, these mini-Famicom cart look-alikes plug into a headphone jack. Unlike a real cartridge, there’s actually no local storage going on here, instead the Pico Cassette uses an inaudible sound as an authentication key that lets you successfully download the connected app. One (somewhat) unique aspect of the tech is that it can also be used to communicate instantly with Beatrobo’s servers to retrieve save data and other information associated with the unique identifier found in each cart. This means you could plug the Pico Cassette into three different mobile devices and instantly have access to all your save information, emulating the cartridge experience of yesteryear.

Of course, everything the Pico Cassette does can be done exclusively through software and cloud syncing. For nostalgia junkies, though, the Pico Cassette could be pretty cool, though honestly its usefulness is pretty much non-existent. Really the only ‘true’ use of these carts are as a DRM measure. Right now Beatrobo is still working to secure partners for its carts, though we highly doubt these things will ever officially see the light of day outside of Japan.

What do you think of the concept, would you actually use these for the nostalgia factor or nothing more than a cheap gimmick that isn’t worth the effort? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.