Slashdot had a pointer to an
article at BusinessWeek about some recent cell phone prototypes. They involve some interesting stuff like gesture recognition and flexible displays. Some of the stuff looks like it could be interesting. I’m not sure I completely agree with the points about fashion that the article makes. Or maybe I just don’t agree with some of the details.
People are getting new phones more often, and the image that those phones present is increasingly important to people. I really picked up that vibe with the Motorola RAZR. It was apparent that a phone with a limited number of features and a slick look could move some amazing numbers. Does that mean that “fashion” is significant though? Nokia has been working on what they call “fashion” phones for quite a while, and those haven’t been successful. Certainly not on the same scale as the RAZR.
Ultimately I think the mobile phone industries needs to take a few hints from the fashion industry, but throwing the whole issue into that domain is just an easy out. The reason the RAZR does well is good design. Calling it a “fashion acessory” makes it easy to deny the fact that most existing phones are crap when it comes to design, so it takes the sting out of the huge numbers of RAZR units that are out in the field. Does the phone industry need to take some cues from fashion on the whole? Sure maybe. But that’s really just a very small part of the overall lesson we should be taking away.