Pictured above are the LG Prada, the Apple iPhone, the “Google Phone”, and the Meizu M8. Will Palm follow the same trend?
I've always been a fan of programmable, dynamic, and reconfigurable user interfaces – flexible graphical user interfaces with touch-screen that allows the display itself to become the center of user interactions; it is just a more efficient method to navigate, produce and consume information, especially on smaller screens.
This is why the handsets such as the Apple iPhone, the LG Prada, and if true, the Google Phone appeal so much to me.
Today I read an article in the NY Times titled “Palm Responds to the iPhone”, where John Markoff wrote:
“Apple’s iPhone is still several months away from being available, but its flexible interface is already shaking up the cellphone industry, including Palm, which makes the hybrid phone-organizers known as smart phones.
The Prada phone from the South Korean consumer electronics maker LG offers some similarities to the iPhone, and industry analysts have said that the Apple phone will force the industry to shift its focus from hardware to software design.”
Yes, that's right. Think about this shift from hardware to software design; the way of the future in handset design. The handset itself becomes pretty much a “generic” apparatus: connected or network-aware, with high-quality sound, and high-quality LCD with touch-screen, and totally software driven – the look and feel, the user experience, and all or most of user interactions.
- Think about the impact to (the cost of) manufacturing for such “generic” handsets.
- Think about the shift and impact on Intellectual Property, from hardware to software.
- Think about where advancement and research will focus on – on the user experience, on new ways to interact with the phone (via the touch-screen, such as multi-touch). From the hardware perspective the handset will continue to advance on the network side, new form-factors, video/display and audio technologies, voice, and so on; but in general it will be a “generic” handset, with software (and form factor) driving differentiation. Another future differentiator will be support for multiple modes (multi-modal), which also will be software driven.
It is time to move on from the “traditional” handset design that have prevailed for decades.
The handset of the future will be driven by software designs and form-factors, which is turn will be driven (and measured) by the mobile user experience.