Designs like this are great, but often the achieve their elegance by ignoring physics or some other constraint that makes them completely unworkable.
the "kick stand" would be hard to engineer due to speaker location.
the UV light while charging thing is a bit off
If you want to design a phone for the ages, it needs to be somewhat expandable, a sd card slot and/or a changeable main board might do the trick
Regarding your last point: How many people would change the inner workings of their device? I think a big selling point is the sleek look of the phone. You'd have to account for a lot of eventualities: What about a second camera, additional microphones etc.? How thick should it be, given that advances in technology could make it feasible to reduce the thickness significantly.
I'm not sure it's even possible to create a phone "for the ages". Even if you disregard the wear of the hardware: A phone design from even 5 years ago looks dated - maybe simply for the fact that it has been around for so long. And while you remain the same design, every company around you changes their designs.
At this point, the material cost of the outer shell of your phone is pretty insignificant compared to the rest of the hardware. You'd have to ramp up the value of the shell quite a bit to make it economical to keep the hull and change the innards.
The phone could just be a really nicely designed and well built 'shell' to hold the main board + display etc. Then every 2 years, instead of buying a whole new phone, you just get an upgrade to the internals.
It seems a little silly to pay too much attention to the external design of phones since most people only have them for a year then change.
I'd sort of like a beautifully designed custom phone shell into which I slot the latest internals with the new chips etc. Having the same phone shell for 10+ years, but seeing the internals upgrade would be nice.
Maybe we treat our phones differently, but unless it was made of diamond it would be beat to hell well before 10 years passed. Not to mention that mobile changes so quickly that internals will be hardly recognizable in 10+ years (at least 5G and god knows what else).
I'd actually quite like a metal/leather one. And no, a case/protector just isn't the same.
Do people here remember the Nokias where you could buy different facias, backs, etc - They kinda separated the case in that way which I thought was a step forward. And if the facia gets scratched you just bought a new one and slotted it in.
...he used to tear up her hardware, the designer's, and put the real parts into cases he'd make in his shop. Say he'd make a solid bronze case for a minidisk unit, ebony inlays, carve the control surfaces out of fossil ivory, turquoise, rock crystal. It weighed more, sure, but it turned out a lot of people liked that, like they had their music or their memory, whatever, in something that felt like it was there... And people liked touching all that stuff: metal, a smooth stone... And once you had the case, when the manufacturer brought out a new model, well, if the electronics were any better, you just pulled the old ones out and put the new ones in your case. So you still had the same object, just with better functions.
As long as there's no lag, it would be a lot better than accidentally hitting them while typing.
(Also those who have issues with accidental keypresses should give swype a try -- since you rarely tap keys, the accident rate should drop.)
Double click invokes multitasking panel (iOS 4).
Hardware-wise, this concept is not too compelling. Needs physical buttons. Needs the trackball. I don't want to pay for stereo sound or the ability to turn into an alarm clock. Give me battery life and a higher-res screen instead. I don't want gimmicks, I want a solid phone that always works and doesn't get in my way.
I agree that they should make their "premium" phones out of metal, though. I think Apple is leading the way here (with a metal case and a very high-res screen), and that HTC is just going to copy. But that's fine, an Android-based iPhone 4 clone with WiMax will be phenomenal.
I've also had (and still have) an iPhone 3G/S for a couple of years. While I still think the iPhone is overall a better UI and better app store, the HTC phone is the first Droid-based phone I've owned or played with that didn't come across like an unfinished experiment in cellphone design.
I'm vaguely aware there are other options to the Sense UI, but I do not dislike it enough overall to warrant an investigation into any of the other options.
No, people on XDA developers (phone nerds) use the tern 'NonSense'. HTC sticks to common UI principles, ie:
* Identifiable icons (eg, using a globe, rather than a blue and white sphere, for a web browser)
* Known color schemes, eg, black, green, and white, versus Googles white, blue, orange and green.
* A home screen which can host animations. Google's can't, which is why the widget selection is poor and those that exist don't do as much.
* Always visible phone function, something Google themselves did in 2.2
* Widgets that don't waste space, compared to the default 2 x 4 widgets for Twitter and Facebook with the massive stip between.
I could go on. HTC have UI designers. Android clearly don't - it's not a matter of personal preference, it's a matter of basic design principles.
Edit: Fixed 'Apple' rather than 'Android'.
Do people like HTC's random animations? Do I really need to see lightning flash when I unlock my phone because there was a thunderstorm at the airport an hour ago? I much prefer Google's more tasteful weather widget -- a simple icon representing the weather and the temperature. Then I don't have to use more than half my screen for an extra clock and a huge picture of a cloud. Looks great in advertising materials, looks terrible in real life. (Of course, you can just remove the widget, so that's not a big deal.)
But it does show you the overall idea behind sense -- stupid gimmicks to make phones more exciting to people that can barely afford the monthly contract fee for a smartphone. Good for them, not good for me. So I kill it.
My biggest beef with Sense is that they put so many gimmicks on the keyboard that there isn't any room for the letter keys. I want to type on the keyboard, not be impressed that they have half-working text-to-speech. On the stock android keyboard, I can get a fucking comma without having to go to the alternate keyboard. On the sense keyboard, nope.
If HTC wants to see how to improve, they should look at the Droid X keyboard. That thing is great. (And it's what I use now :)
Anyway, "basic design principles" my ass. "Basic bling principles" maybe.
> But it does show you the overall idea behind sense -- stupid gimmicks to make phones more exciting to people that can barely afford the monthly contract fee for a smartphone.
Sense for me gives me instant access to my friends activities (via FriendStream, which won't work on normal Google home as animation isn't allowed in widgets - see the vanilla Facebook and Twitter one-at-a-time widgets), my investments (same thing), and a visually driven music player that takes advantage of the fact I can find a picture a lot faster than I can a word.
I can do all of these without leaving my home screen. On regular Android, I can't.
Also agreed on space efficiency - their weather widgets are much better done (fortunately tons of alternatives exist in the market).
There are plenty of things that annoyed me though. 1) The UI is slower and any of its minor gains is not worth this trade-off. 2) I dislike the iPhone style time select (android's key input is quicker to use, though it too has flaws (not selecting the existing text automatically)). 3) The clock that is a direct rip off of the iPhone. Its features are quite lacking (a stopwatch without laps, etc.)
No. Really, no.
As for the trackball? Still the best precision text selection device I've used on a mobile.
My Sansa E500 thing is easy to manage by touch only (except if I want to see the name of the song playing); my eyes don't leave the road if I want to skip or repeat or pause a song.
Likewise, if I need to make or take a call while driving, and pulling over isn't an option, I want to be able to do a much as I can by touch, and not worry that a misplaced tap or glide on smooth glass has triggered some unwanted behavior.
Now it's squint at the damn phone and tap around. Hanging up is just the tiniest bit more annoying without a hardware button (yes, I'm aware that many smartphones have a physical end-call button).
I've had no problem with the iOS method so far, and haven't been longing for the return of the trackball at all.
Tactile feedback from keyboards/button has always been an issue with me, but I find that a slight vibration from the phone when a softkey is pressed does the job just fine.
I do that pretty regularly to quote in mails and forums on my iOS device. But I think the issue isn't about how often it's used, but how seamless it is. If you can do it without thinking about it, it's good. If you have to stop when you need to select text, it's not.
SenseUI is an excellent interface. I say this as a fairly hardcore user. It's a bit of a UI stepback using my N1 instead of my Magic+. I'm a fairly hardcore user so I like it vanilla for other reasons, but I guarantee that doesn't matter at all for about 95% of consumers.
> I think Apple is leading the way here (with a metal case and a very high-res screen), and that HTC is just going to copy.
HTC Legend was out before the iPhone, largely composed of a single piece of aluminum. HTC has absolutely kicked Apple around when it comes to screen resolution. So how, exactly, is HTC copying Apple? Quite the opposite.
That being said, I dig the design language and the inspiration found in fine old cameras and watches.
What I really want is the industrial design and hardware of Apple running the Android OS with the user experience and UI design of Palm WebOS. That's my sweetspot.
Well, let's not be too kind to Apple. The new phone is already behind the greatest and latest. Apple just has a brand name.
HOWEVER! Lucky for you the lead OS designer for Palm WebOS just switched to Android. Expect greatness from the next OS update (assuming you already have 2.2).
> Well, let's not be too kind to Apple. The new phone is already behind the greatest and latest.
I agree. I was talking about case/glass/build quality/materials "innovation"/etc. rather than the chip specs. Didn't make that clear.
Expandable memory is awesome and the Snapdragon et. al. seem good like it's pretty good albeit maybe power hungry.
Just criticizing the appearance though.
As far as the usability goes:
- is it a good idea to have a curved touch screen?
- will constant uv-raying create super germs?
- i like the idea of the built in stand, at least on those graphics it looks interesting, but i simply wont buy a mobile where u could flip, twist or slide party away, around or off - because those parts decrease the life-expectancy of the object dramatically and are the first things that wore off and take away all this fancy feeling, that a high priced designy object gives you in the beginning.
what makes great design?
Instead of thinking "how can I make a phone look like an iPhone", better think "how do I want my phone to look". If all you can come up with is an iPhone, change your job (and get an iPhone).
Huh? Why? What's wrong with it? Seems great to me :/
Right now, you press the calendar button and you see your calendar. You press the phone button, dial, and you make a phone call to the number you dialed. I am not sure what's missing here.
Also, because Android doesn't have a particularly strong stance on how UIs should work and should be laid out, there also hasn't been a very strong stance on how buttons on the phone should be laid out and what the device should look like. For instance, the back button can change functionality quite a bit between apps. Or also, the G1 has a camera button but the nexus one (foolishly) doesn't. Most devices have a UI completely unrelated to the phone hardware.
I wouldn't just pick on Android but I think it's a problem that Windows and Linux have had as well. The experience just isn't that cohesive and it makes them more difficult to use. I'm not really a fan of Apple, but it's definitely one place where they've put in a lot more work than others.
Apple isn't necessarily more cohesive, they make a single model of phone. By definition, everything they do is 100% cohesive.
There are five iOS devices (iPhone 3GS/4, iPod Touch 2nd/3rd generation, iPad). Two of those are phones and the rest aren't, but only because they can't make calls. Who wants to do that, anyway?
The issue is that providing a physical back button or not isn't meant to facilitate different types of usage. It's just constantly changing the way the exact same things work for no reason other than, I don't know, maybe just time passing?
It's similar to notebook keyboards. I have never bought a notebook that had the keys in the same place as the one I bought before. Every time I have to relearn. It's just a waste of time. Hardware designers should have an idea about what they're trying to achieve when they change something and that has to have something to do with what the software does. I totally agree with CitizenKane on that one.
It may facilitate different form factors and different price points. I suspect most Android phones are used the same, but people prefer different sizes of devices. I prefer having a hardware keyboard but currently most devices do not have one.
> I have never bought a notebook that had the keys in the same place as the one I bought before... when they change something and that has to have something to do with what the software does.
I'm not sure how the keyboard layout has anything to do with the software running on your laptop?
Note that a trackball press will take a picture on both of these devices (and because of the shitty design of the regular camera button on my G1, I end up using the trackball anyway).
I am so disappointed this phone isn't real, but simply a concept. Still, I appreciate Andrew Kim's talents.
My only gripe with these mockups is the typography on the world clock. Why is there a period after the place:
instead of the intended
new york-9:00pm, seattle-6:00pm
That said, many flip phones do actually have dual screens. Never seen them used simultaneously though. (Woz's solution for multitasking also comes to mind - just have two phones.)
This concept encourages further vendor UI overlays, custom icons, and the 4x4 app icon grid. It's clear that it was inspired by the iPhone and it simply removes the innovation of the Android homescreen paradigm in order to look more like the iphone.
That having been said, why a manufacturer hasn't stepped forward and created a piece of hardware to rival the iPhone is beyond me. Until the hardware is compelling, all Android phones will be interchangable. For example, how many Android users would jump at iPhone-like hardware running Froyo/Gingerbread?
Form matching function is absolutely a good thing; form over function is foolish.
No one ever explains what it means, they just reference it as if the iPhone possesses it as another of its magical abilities. Your analogy does not translate to hardware and software. How does Windows 7 match up with your monitor, or unibody desktop computer? What, specifically, makes OS X beautifully tailored for the unibody MBP. Nothing. It's just a way of saying "I think the iPhone has a prettier interface than Android" which is a tired argument so it's dressed up under a new guise.
It means aesthetically the texture, color, or lines fit together. In this case the lines are the most important part. Maybe it's not important to you, but it's not a hollow statement.
Throughout this thread, I keep hearing "its magical beautiful design" and nothing concrete. Please give me some examples.
Like it was mentioned above, it seems that Kim's desire was to match the simple lines of the phone with a flat, simple interface. I think his proposed interface is poor at best. If you gave a really great UI designer this hardware to design against, you'd quickly understand the cohesion.
Android CTS demands that hardware design have standard minimum UI buttons.