September 05, 2012
In the early days of cellphone development, devices were distinct. Clamshell, slide-out keyboard and straight designs were easy to tell apart from one another. Even RIM's BlackBerry devices where each unique. However, with the advent of the iPhone and Android devices, the design of phones has become more uniform. Rectangles with rounded edges, touchscreens and minimal intrusion from camera lenses, microphones and buttons - device interface development is beginning to become rote, even boring.
According to the Oman Tribune, however, Apple's recent victory in a lawsuit against Samsung may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. While some fear that this decision may end the age of smartphone innovation, others believe it may inspire manufacturers to go in entirely new directions with their devices.
"We don't know yet how far the impacts are going to go from here," Paul Pugh, creative vice president at San Francisco-based design company Frog, told the news source. "I do hope it's an inspiration moment for the Android platform and the manufacturers to put their bets on innovation to come with great user experience based on users' needs, and not stagnate based on the patents crippling them."
BRG asserts that design has ceased to matter in smartphone development over the past three years. The things that manufacturers really care about - display quality, power, camera pixels and software - are taking the forefront over advances in physical design. However, just because a lack of design hasn't hurt the mobile market so far doesn't mean users aren't becoming bored with a lack of diversity in design. One device that may be breaking the mold, according to the news source, is the Lumia Windows Phone from Nokia.
The Lumia is a breath of fresh air in the smartphone world, with a colorful, updated design that could be as big as the Motorola RAZR in 2004 or even the Nokia 2110 in 1994, which introduced sleek, low-profile design to the cellphone industry.
In recent years, mobile device companies have put more of their innovation efforts into graphical user interface design. While this area is extremely important for the success of a device, phones like the RAZR proved that it isn't the only element that sells a phone. Even companies with high-quality GUI design for their devices need to provide innovative physical design if they want to have a long-term effect on the mobile world.