Hey there, citizens! I missed you for seven whole days. It's seven times the lifespan of a fly. If you put it that way, I missed you for seven generations. Enough with the sweet chat, now. It's time to be grossed out, because this week, I decided it is time to leave software aside and become a design critic. Looking at my Sony Xperia M2 and then digging through my memory box and finding my old cell phones, from when they weren't that smart, there is just one thing I can say: Man, I owned some really ugly devices. Of course they seemed interesting for a 14y old, but the ones who designed them were definitely older. What were they thinking?
Beauty Comes From The Inside, But Sometimes The Outside Matters Too
In my honest opinion the designers' take on their creations back in the 2000s was probably Let's make them look like they come from Captain Picard's worst nightmare. Because they all looked like they were complicated alien devices, meant to control armies of mechanical ants who will steal all your leftover pizza. Just take a look at this beauty, the Siemens Xelibri:
Siemens Xelibri. Source: ftpshop.com.vn
What were you thinking? Hey, you know what would be cool? Let's mix a pocket mirror, with a disc phone and sink it in glitter. Definitely a win. It will sell like vacuums on Black Friday.
After seeing the Xelibri, Motorola said they can do way better. And they came up with this:
Motorola StarTAC Rainbow. Source: timeslive.co.za
This looks like something that came out of Mario after eating too much chinese food and lego bricks. I am pretty sure 1997 wasn't the best year for innovation in design. After all, the Backstreet Boys were fashion icons back then, but really, this is a masterpiece.
Telson TWC 1150. Source: szafa.pl
Wow. It's like a drone decided to have a pajama party with a clumsy penguin. And nine months later, the baby was delivered by Optimus Prime. With a broken leg. How do you even use this?
One Brand To Rule Them All. Nokia
All the major manufacturers have that one phone that looked like something Nicki Minaj would buy as dummy for her videos. But there is one company that simply managed to overcome any other company's most ridiculous attempts E.V.E.R. Nokia. They have released more ugly phones than Justin Bieber released bad songs. Let's have a look:
Nokia 7600. Source: esato.com
Is it a leaf, is it a coaster, is it Wonder Woman's biological clock? Who ever imagined this phone could be easy to maneuver and use on a daily basis. I need three hands to type a text message and hold my coffee in the same time. This is wrong by any geometrical law.
And let's not forget about this piece of useless art:
Nokia 7280. Source: pcmag.com
Wow. the amount of bad jokes I could make about this design. Even for that time a display of 208x104 pixels was not enough even for a tamagotchi. But hey, it looked like a lipstick (really trying to keep myself from further associations) and it was as easy to use as Boeing 747.
Hey, Sis, may I wear your lipstick today?
Oh, I might've called the cops. Or your ex.
Thank you engineers, for coming up with the smartphone and the need for a big screen with as few buttons possible. Not much to innovate there. And I hope that the future won't mean designs that sprung from ideas like Hey, wouldn't it be cool if it had wings and an integrated screwdriver?