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Where’s the Smart Phone Device Innovation?

empathy10Think back to what the state of the smart phone market was through most of the 2000’s.

There was tremendous and rapid innovation in hardware – phones in 2009 looked totally different from phones in 2001. There were sliders, phone with keyboards, phones with dual hinges – because we hadn’t yet settled into the comfortable slate form factor that we use today, everyone was trying a different approach.

Today, nearly every smart phone – whether IOS, Android, or Windows 7 – looks nearly identical, with only occasional alterations to the formula. Even RIM has moved towards this design as well for some of its models. Since 2007 there has been amazingly little evolution design-wise, as the focus has shifted to the OS and to apps.

I’m bored. My hope for CES 2011? To see some truly unusual, groundbreaking hardware designs for phones. How about transparent or flexible displays? How about dynamic keyboards? How about something I’ve never seen before?

Look at the fashion world or the automotive world. These industries constantly evolve their aesthetic approach – distinct from functionality. They do this to avoid stagnancy and to keep consumers excited.

We need the same. Let’s hope we get a taste at CES.

Ethan Rasiel is General Manager at a Public Relations firm in New York City. The views above are his alone and do not represent those of his employer or any client.

5 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. While your question is significant to changing times and point taken to the automotive industry as well as to the fashion industry we have to look at the market in full and I mean full as in the whole audience of smartphone users. Smartphone design must have a usuability factor for everyday usage and not for red carpet nights such as fashion wear.

    • Yeah but you have to admit most of the changes in the smartphone market have been evolutionary recently. Faster processors, faster data, more memory. Nothing crazy except for wireless charging in my opinion. I am waiting for my star trek communicator 🙂

      • Haha, Ronen.

        There’s an app for that. A $1.99 Star Trek Communicator app for all the iProducts. Not quite the same as the real thing though, I’m sure. 😉

  2. Yeah we are definitely in a rut from a design perspective. Even the iPhone isn’t really all that different than any other touch screen phone, and it’s supposed to be the leading edge of smartphone design.

    I’m satisfied though with the design on my Storm, I just wish it had better insides and a modern OS.

  3. RIM needs some innovation, but that concept phone looks horrible!

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