The Evolution of Product Design: Mobile Phones

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Like many pieces of technology, the Mobile phone is a product that has evolved drastically over it’s existence. Companies like Formzoo Designs are forever looking for new ways to improve product design in order to better the consumer experience. Since the very first mobile phone call in 1985, mobile phone technology has completely transformed the way we live our lives. Indispensable, convenient and the hub of most of our social activity, the past 29 years has seen the humble mobile phone morph into a high-tech gadget that many simply can’t do without. It’s exciting to ponder just what the future mobile phone will look like. But in the meantime, it helps to have an understanding of just where today’s mobile phone came from. Here’s a brief rundown of the evolutionary stages in the development of the humble mobile phone to this day.

 

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Itall began with green

The very first mobile phones released onto the mass market were not able to sport the kind of colourful displays that are now a mainstay of mobile phone technology. Rather, the first mobiles were limited to green screens with black text. Also, these first generation mobiles were hardly mobile at all. Looking and almost weighing as much as a brick, they didn’t have a long battery life (maximum 20 minutes talk time was the norm) and cost thousands of dollars. Still, however much they fell short of the dream of mobile interconnectedness, they were a positive development and a great sign of things to come.

Then came colour

It wasn’t until 2001-2002 with the release of the Ericsson T68 and the Nokia 3510i that mobile phones entered the colourful display age. The opening years of the 21st century also saw screen sizes get bigger: from the standard 3 inch screen of earlier years to upwards of 5.5 inch with the new generation of mobile phones. Pixel density increased too, which resulted in overall better quality images on screen.

Enter the camera phone

At around the same time that mobile phones were entering the colour age, a number of phone companies (e.g., Sanyo and Nokia) released the very first camera phones onto the market. Although image quality at the time was poor compared to today’s standard (an age where the social phenomenon of “the Selfie” has taken the world by storm) it was an important development in the evolution of the modern mobile phone.

Mobile surfing

If there was one development in the evolution of mobile phone design that has made the most impact on the world, it would have to be the introduction of mobile Internet connectivity. Although first developed in Japan in the late 1990s, it wasn’t until the first half of the 21st century that Internet-enabled mobile phones grew in popularity. This new generation of mobile phones allowed users to access real-time information and paved the way for the Smartphone that was soon to come.

The age of the Smartphone

Technically speaking, the first Smartphone ever developed was the IBM Simon released in 1993. The Simon contained a calendar, fax, touch screen and a range of extra features. However, it was far too bulky and expensive at the time to ever take off. It wasn’t until the mid 2000s that small, compact and feature-rich Smartphones flooded the market and changed the future of mobile phone technology for ever. The Blackberry was one of the first Smartphones that grew in mass appeal in the early 21st century, followed by the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. These models allowed users to access all types of information, connect with others over phone lines and data connections, and manage their day-to-day lives from the convenience of a device that fits easily in a pocket.

It’s truly exciting to ponder just where things will lead in the future. Mobile phones are simply here to stay, and no doubt that will make our lives easier. What are your thoughts on the future of mobile phone technology? Where do you see things going? Leave your comments below and contribute to the discussion today.

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