Phone Technology and Design

July 7, 2009 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Predicting the Future of Cell Phone Technology and Design

Over the years, the Blackberry has set the standard for business cell phones and now the iPhone has set the standard for media enriched cell phones for higher class consumers.  The question that remains to be answered is, “Will these ambitious super-gadgets go mainstream?”  To Apple enthusiasts and Silicon Valley nerds, the answer is obvious.  Over a million iPhones sold within months after release, are you kidding?  It’ll absolutely be mainstream in a few years!

Consider design, consumption and use

I might have given the answer above without hesitation last fall, but then it occurred to me that these phones are highly targeted pieces of equipment.  Take the Blackberry for example, it serves a purpose that is unparalleled in the business world.  Like the Rolodex, it has created for greater efficiency and increased productivity  and that’s just taking push e-mail and personal management features into account.

The iPhone, Apple’s prized gadget, takes a kitchen sink approach and meshes it all well using Apple’s trademark simplicity approach.  At a price of $600-$800 retail, not including the price of a contract and data plan, this phone — although profitable — has limited revenue potential.

Next Generation Cellular Phones – Evolution through Devolution?

Depending on how you characterize advancement, you might fall in love (as I have) with the concept of turning back the clock on cellular design and offering a Googlesque approach to design.

Googlesque, what the heck does that even mean?

Lets face it, part of how Google took over the world is it simplified search, it killed the garbage “home page portal” ambition (see MSN, Yahoo, AOL) and provided you with a Google search box.  Well, what if we could implement the same concept with mobile phones?  Think about the possibilities of a simple, flashy design that would be affordable and available for mass consumption?  Someone already has, here’s a fresh new look at cellular designs for next generation simplicity.

First Look at the Mimique Cell Phone Design

Mimique

I’ve got the scoop on the new design, it comes on good authority from a member of the RKS team.

The “Mimique” Concept

This new cellular design looks to take a different approach from the newer generation of feature-heavy cell phones.   The team was aiming for a playful, engaging and simple “old-school” design using next generation style and technology.

I’d have to agree with that description, let’s take a closer look.

Mimique Cell Phone Profile

Mimique Cell Phone

According to the RKS, the Mimique will make use of “new open-source, cell phone software” — hmm, Android anyone?  It includes downloadable “skins” that allow changing of the graphical interface to match the consumer’s mood or personal style.  The mimique design promises to provide a phone for everybody, especially typical consumers that don’t require the extra baggage that comes with newer and more expensive business and entertainment cell phones.   I think I’ve adequately explained why the idea of simplicity and usability is so appealing given the direction of current cellular technologies and unintuitive designs.

Of course, being the inquisitive person that I am, I had to probe for more information and received some literature from the design team:

Where the Mimique really sets itself apart is that it is designed to take advantage of the new, open-source cell phone technologies being developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance. This barrier-breaking technology would allow users to customize their phones to work and look exactly the way they want.  […] Best of all, it means that you’ll no longer be forced to pay for features you don’t want. You get to pick and choose exactly the features you want to create your own perfect phone.

So why change direction in design, are there other benefits besides reclaiming the phone for consumers through intuitive new-age design?

The combination of open source software and touch-screen technology will make the Mimique easily upgradable.  Today, if someone comes out with new cell phone features, you have to buy a new cell phone to get that feature. But with the Mimique, you’ll just download the new feature to your phone and you’re good to go. This will greatly extend the lifespan of the phone itself, because the features are never locked into the design.  With the Mimique, you’ll always have the newest, coolest phone on the block, because it’s the one phone designed to be everything you want and nothing you don’t.

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