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Technology Are We In The Dark Age Of Smart Phone Design?


Denim&Venöm
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After watching a retrospective on the designs of HTC phones, it struck me that over the past decade, and especially over the last few years, smart phones have varied little in their design. The materials used and color may change. But overall the format is the same across all brands. 

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One giant rectangular screen. I get that we're moving more towards function over form. That an all screen phone sounds idyllic to most. But it's still a shame to see the diversity gone. To have a phone that was not only useful, but reflected taste and personality. A phone that you can say "Hey, that looks cool!" Bricks, flip phones, chocolate bars, razors, PDAs, landscape QWERTYs, clam shells, even the damn taco phone. So much variety and so many choices to find a phone that best fit you. 

Maybe it's my inner :pout: craving stand out designs in an age where smart phones are starting to share fewer differences between them than Coke and Pepsi. But despite the leaps in technology and functionality, I miss the older phones. 

What about you? Do you think mobile devices today look too similar and samey? Will things improve or get worse? What do you see the next big change being in smart phone design? 

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I'm predicting things are going to get worse yet. Things seem to be moving towards removing bezels and having basically a screen as your phone. Once you remove the bezels and buttons, what's really left? Maybe some branding on the remaining case, but over time, even that will slowly disappear to make the device thinner.

I'm not sure where the future is going with smart phones; I can't say I like where the pricing model seems to be going for flagship devices. $1000+ for a phone that will go unsupported by the parent company or be "made" obsolete in 1-2 years is downright insane. I'm planning on getting off this train in a few months and buying a decent cell phone instead.

Edited by Celtore
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Maybe one day they will be completely transparent screens looking all futuristic. That'll be an interesting time but honestly, I prefer function over style. I need it to work first and look cool second.

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My biggest complaint of smartphone design is how prone to trends that they are... look at the notch on the iPhone X. Now that the iPhone has done it, and despite the fact that it drew alot of criticism (especially in non-US markets, particularly in Asia), it is starting to appear in newer Android phones. Really? You can't come up with anything unique, so you just copy an ultimately unwanted, obtrusive, and pointless addition to the iPhone? I'm hoping Apple drops the notch in the next version of the iPhone just to make some of these companies look stupid. And I'm usually on the side against Apple.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/4/17077458/iphone-design-clones-mwc-2018 

...and it's a nightmare to for Android as an OS, they're actually rolling out a special version of the OS just to work around the damn thing.

 

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It doesn't necessarily bother me that much, the design of the phones, but it would be nice to have more of a "recognizable" brand of phones that don't all look nearly exactly like the iPhone. I used to have a flip-phone until just a couple of years ago when I finally got a smart-phone. For me it wasn't really so much what the phone looked like on the outside design-wise, but more so how friendly and easy the user interface was in the phone. I didn't like any of the phones that had the windows 8 or 10 installed on them, it was hard to navigate around and the interface was more suitable for a computer than a mobile phone. 

I have a nice phone right now, and I like the software interface in it, because a phone isn't very useful if you can't figure out where everything is on it! :lol:   

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If the trend is to fill the front with screen, the only way one could differentiate is to do something with the back of the phone, and I don't mean the positioning of the camera or a touch sensor back there. No, I mean having different materials. We see glass, metal, and plastic. But I would like to see wood or fabrics on it. People would still cover it with a case, I don't blame them because that's what I do, but it would at least look nice when the tech channels whore the phones out in their B-roll.

One thing that needs to stop is only having a bottom firing speaker. HTC actually uses both top and bottom speakers, why can't everyone else do that?

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I'm not certain what you expect smart phone manufacturers to do.  The touchscreen on the smartphone essentially replicates the functionality of the user interfaces on any of the older phones, so there is no reason to do anything other than to provide the smartphone with as large of a touchscreen as possible.  Hence they all look the same.  Until there is a reason to add something else to the phone surface, I imagine they will continue to look the same.

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6 hours ago, Twilight Dirac said:

Until there is a reason to add something else to the phone surface, I imagine they will continue to look the same.

Which inevitably is whatever Apple is doing.

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Since Apple had the genius idea of removing the headphone jack, I think we indeed are in the dark age.

I agree that smartphones look way too alike and I'd enjoy it if there was more variety to the colors too, more than just black and white. Phone cases would also be neat but the majority of the really cool ones are almost always exclusively for iPhones. :wat: Oh and also whose idea was it to remove the possibility to equip phone charms?

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I agree, but there is a bit of a silver lining in the cloud of iClones going around:  Thanks to the Raspberry Pi (a reasonably powerful computer that fits inside an Altoids tin), you can MAKE your own smartphone (and customize the case for it however you want), if you're ambitious & skilled enough (or at least know someone who has the skills to build it to your design specs):

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/piphone-home-made-raspberry-pi-smartphone/

 

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On 4/1/2018 at 5:01 PM, Denim&Venom said:

To have a phone that was not only useful, but reflected taste and personality.

That's what cases and accessories are for nowadays.

I do wish phones still had that little place where you could hook a phone charm. I miss those.

On 4/9/2018 at 3:05 AM, Jaspers said:

Oh and also whose idea was it to remove the possibility to equip phone charms?

Oh, beat me to it!

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On 4/1/2018 at 3:01 PM, Denim&Venom said:

One giant rectangular screen. I get that we're moving more towards function over form. That an all screen phone sounds idyllic to most. But it's still a shame to see the diversity gone. To have a phone that was not only useful, but reflected taste and personality. A phone that you can say "Hey, that looks cool!" Bricks, flip phones, chocolate bars, razors, PDAs, landscape QWERTYs, clam shells, even the damn taco phone. So much variety and so many choices to find a phone that best fit you. 

Maybe it's my inner :pout: craving stand out designs in an age where smart phones are starting to share fewer differences between them than Coke and Pepsi. But despite the leaps in technology and functionality, I miss the older phones. 

What about you? Do you think mobile devices today look too similar and samey? Will things improve or get worse? What do you see the next big change being in smart phone design? 

Cell phones and PDAs are still quite popular in Japan, and while a moderate amount of the younger generation have already switched to smartphones, some still prefer to stick to the originals. It's probably because within a culture that prides itself on its collectivism and uniformity, people in Japan just like to have those small differences in design and shape that make them distinct in personality and preference. 

But really, it's really difficult to expect anything out of smartphone design. The reason why so many phones replicate the iPhone design is because the size is just right – not too small that it becomes a problem to feasibly use, but not too large that you can't fit it inside your pocket and use it on the go. And significantly altering the shape could potentially make it less comfortable to use. 

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9 minutes ago, Vulon Bii said:

I think you're going to have to elaborate on that.

They’re referring to the fact that most people spend an excessive amount of time on their smart phones, rather than putting them down and absorbing the reality around them.

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If it ain't broke don't fix it. It's really hard to improve on something that's already perfect, so it's came to the point where phones remove features just to stand out.

I still find having a camera on a phone mind blowing. Now we have phones with 3 cameras, touchscreen, fingerprint scanner, gyroscope, iris scanner, curved display, water and dust resistance, stylus and so on.

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2 minutes ago, ShadOBabe said:

They’re referring to the fact that most people spend an excessive amount of time on their smart phones, rather than putting them down and absorbing the reality around them.

There's a subreddit for that kind of mentality.

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5 hours ago, Vulon Bii said:

I think you're going to have to elaborate on that.

The more meaningless babbling people are doing the less they're thinking. It used to be when you had thirty seconds with nothing to do you had to be alone with your thoughts. Which allowed you to HAVE THOUGHTS. Now people spend every spare second poking those things. And lots of time when they should be doing other things. You've heard all the warnings about people getting into car accidents because they can't put those things down for five minutes. If you don't walk with your head down over a cell phone you'll notice people tripping and almost walking into walls because of those things.

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16 minutes ago, Fluttershutter said:

The more meaningless babbling people are doing the less they're thinking. It used to be when you had thirty seconds with nothing to do you had to be alone with your thoughts. Which allowed you to HAVE THOUGHTS. Now people spend every spare second poking those things. And lots of time when they should be doing other things. You've heard all the warnings about people getting into car accidents because they can't put those things down for five minutes. If you don't walk with your head down over a cell phone you'll notice people tripping and almost walking into walls because of those things.

So basically "phones are bad because reasons" right?

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6 minutes ago, Fluttershutter said:

No, human stupidity is bad. Cell phones are just enablers for reasons mentioned.

I think those "reasons" is just a bunch of bullshit made up by people who don't understand technology, and then people like you actually believe it and propagates it. Don't forget that there are countless other ways that people can distract themselves, and coming onto the internet, which is something people can use to distract themselves, and saying that one way to do it is "bad". Are you going to suggest that all forms of technology that can be used to access the media that has been created over time is bad?

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