8 October 2007

‘My mobile is me’ – a story about mobile design in India

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India is one of the world’s hottest mobile design locations today. The Hindu Business Line reports on what handset makers think of design in India, and how they track trends and make gadgets that reflect people’s personality and needs.

The article features quotes from people at BenQ, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Vertu.

Here a quote about the Nokia design process:

“Our entire design process is influenced by the consumer and their behaviour — how they want their mobile to look, function and fit into their lifestyle. We take a human approach to design in an industry that tends to focus on just pushing technology. We are creating stylish products that work just the way people like them to. This combination is central to our design work and brand,” says Jan Blom, Head of the Bangalore design team of Nokia, which recently tied up with Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology to set up the first of a series of satellite design studios. The Bangalore studio “reflects India’s status as one of the hottest countries for design,” according to Nokia’s Chief Designer, Alastair Curtis. […]

“The [Bangalore studio] will look at a range of design trends and themes, including: visual perceptions: researching key colour and material trends in India and their cultural significance; Internet mobility: understanding how people in India are accessing the Internet via mobile phones, why and what are they using this for, the impact on behaviours and culture, and how can we identify these and other signals that will help us come up with relevant and compelling devices designed for Internet usage and even social applications for mobiles — how can mobile design be used to address issues in more rural areas of India, for example access to education material.”

The article ends with some hints at what is coming up “by 2010”.

Areas to watch, according to the maker, are new shapes, materials and features, creating new ways for people to interact with their device, how to make the mobile Internet experience compelling, and broader adoption of multi-media features and content. “Mobile design is a fascinating and dynamic area. Design will be much more based around the experience people want from their device — what they want their device to do and how it needs to fit into their everyday lives. Given that we are not all looking for the same experience, there will be a number of different trends,” says Blom.

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