Back in March Nokia came up with a surprisingly novel idea: “why not let the public design the kind of phone they would actually like?”, they then labelled this idea Design by Community and over a series of months enlisted the help of thousands of people to try and create “the ultimate concept device” and this week Nokia has released the final renders of the result of all that effort: the Nokia U.
Unfortunately, it is purely an exercise in design, research and democracy and the finished product is no more than a concept, but it does give an interesting picture into what the public really want from their phones, and will hopefully help guide manufacturers towards creating phones which users really want.
There is one obvious problem with asking people to create their ultimate mobile phone, that being that people tend to move outside the box of ‘realistic’ and into the dirty world of ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…’ but fortunately Nokia foresaw this and instead guided people through a series of stages which looked at each element of the build in turn and came up with solutions one at a time.
The results of these 18,000 votes were then passed on to the Nokia design team who set about creating three concept sketches which were then shown back to the public who chose a final winner to be rendered which is what Nokia has shown us this week… in fact even the name (the Nokia U) was voted for.
Of course, as I’ve mentioned this will not become a reality, but it does give an insight into what people really want from a phone, so I’ll have a quick look at the specs that have come out of this experiment and look at how good a phone it would actually be.
The ideas that came up regarding the operating system were a lot more interesting, and I think manufacturers should definitely take note of what people really want from their OS: for a start the Nokia ‘U’ can support multiple operating systems (presumably allowing you to choose) with the standard being open source with unlimited multitasking.
It should also feature temperature and location sensors so that your phone can constantly monitor where you are and what the conditions are like, support device-based storage and have the majority of the OS to respond to touch control.
So although we will never be seeing the Nokia U, which is a bit of a shame as a lot of effort has been put into it, we will hopefully see these desires taken on board for future design and is used to influence what we see in the future, and if this and some of their previous phones like the Nokia E71 is anything to go by they will be pretty good!
But who knows, if it proves to have been a successful project for Nokia, we might see manufacturers doing this for other types of products such as netbooks, perhaps we’ll see a community-driven design for the next Nokia Booklet 3G netbook?
Are all the features that you would want in a mobile phone concept included in this one? What else would you want to see in your ideal phone handset?