beginnings of the modern age

Bold statement, it’s true. This is a statement that can be justified though. 

When I was at college, one of my areas of study was Product Design. It’s safe to say that without that, I wouldn’t have gone as far as I have today. One of my favourite projects was one that combined my passion for technology with what was becoming my love for design.

This project was Mobile Phone Modelling. The project had three sections:

  • Investigation and Clarification of Problem
  • Development of a Design Proposal
  • Communication and Modelling

Nice and straight forward, the project involved research on telecommunications and a research section as well as taking what was learned and translating it into design proposals. Given that in 2001, the height of mobile technology and design were the super stylish Nokia 8850 and the technological marvel that was the Sony Ericsson T68i. With aluminium bodies and colour screens a true rarity and something never seen together, the future was still a long way away.

So, as the project went on my ideas developed and I came up with three solutions. The first was an uninspired candy bar design that looked like the Ericsson R320. The second two however were where I let my imagination run wild.

The first device (silver) was like a conventional mobile phone, but with a completely touch-screen interface. The second device was, for many intents and purposes a modern smartphone.

The Red device was completely touch-screen again, but had a huge number of features including:

  • A gyro to detect the phone’s rotation and change the display accordingly
  • Digital camera
  • 16 Bit colour curved display
  • A stylus
  • Physical navigation buttons and a joystick / trackball
  • Photo suite
  • Internet browser
  • 3D games

So, It would seem I accidental invented the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, the new rotational home screen on the iPhone 6 Plus, BlackBerry’s entire navigation system and had features that have made it in to every device for the last 5 years. Even down to the dimensions, these devices were almost correct to the devices of today. Let’s keep in mind, at this point (2001) Apple had started development of the iPad, but hadn’t even looked at a phone.

Needless to say, when I recently found this old college work, I was shocked. It seemed like coincidence, but as I looked over my research notes and my sketches, It was all there to see. I had indeed had these ideas and that’s where I saw mobile communications going and it did.

I accidentally created the modern smartphone and now Apple and Google get all the credit! Oh well, best get to work on what we’re all going to have in 2027!