That was just plain wrong. Time after time, Nokia and Apple has proven that it is possible to make phones with good hardware design, and before that, companies like Sony and Palm has demonstrated that there are more than just slates when it came to touchscreen dominated PDAs (which were basically smartphones that can't make phone calls). A good designer will always find a way.
|Palm V: Stylish and functional. Instantly recognisable. (image source)|
In a sea of Android clones in their Spring 2012 catalogue, KDDI, via their mobile phone subsidiary au by KDDI, has created a unique product aimed at people who didn't want just another boring looking black colour slate. The KDDI C01, announced this year and last year respectively. I still remember lusting for the KDDI Infobar 2 featurephone released many years ago and the A01 Infobar Android, but logistic and technology barriers made them almost impossible to import.
|Only one product stands out here.|
Not that I am against generic design, as long as the price reflect them. After all in the automobile industry, we are awash with generic looking vehicles by Ford, Toyota and Renault. But there is a market for design orientated products, and while I can't prove it scientifically I am willing to stake my reputation on the line by stating the obvious: that design of cars are usually better the more expensive they are. You wouldn't want a Porsche to look like a Ford Focus when you paid six times more for it, so why would you want your £500-£600 smartphone to look like a £100 one?
|Tizio desk lamp, never bettered since 1972. (image source)|
My point? Good design matters. A product with great design will stand the test of time, is uniquely identifiable and will be used as the benchmark where all future products will be judged against. More importantly, a great design will also make a product stand out. Perhaps I am shallow, but good hardware and software designs are exactly why I love using my Lumia 800 and a ThinkPad. Deep inside me I am a geek at heart who gets excited by raw specs, but that alone will not win me. Design, more than anything else, simply matters.