While gadgets have traditionally been attractive because they do novel or impressive things, many gadgets these days are designed with thought put into how they look. This is true for mobile phones more so than any other type of gadget. For example, the Motorola Razr phone was as much of a fashion statement as it was a useful device. “Was” is the operative word when discussing the Razr because it has recently gone out of style and the number of units of the model sold have plummeted. That’s illustrative of one of the dangers of making electronic devices that are designed to satisfy the fickle notions of fashion that many people have. That said though, a lot of companies are doing it anyway. For example, LG electronics which is based out of South Korea has jumped onto the fashionable mobile phone bandwagon. LG- which has been known for producing low cost handsets in the past- has more recently collaborated with Prada to produce a handset that bears the Prada name. The Prada phone was developed with image in mind when it came to everything from the look of the actual phone to the icons that go on the screen to the ring tones and to the hard leather case and lint cloth that comes with it.
The Prada phone also has a fair amount of functionality built into it including the ability to take digital photographs. It also has touch screen features and can be used to surf the Internet. The Prada phone is also a multimedia device that can be used to listen to music, look at digital photos, and watch video.
Another venture into the fashion world of LG can be seen in its newer sliding phones. With these gadgets the screen on the phone slides up to reveal the keypad. In addition to being flashy, these phones have some practical benefits as well. The most obvious benefit of this design is the fact that it allows for a larger screen on a more compact device.
In addition to practical concerns, this device also has a fair amount of flair built into it as well. One model has a polished black casing, buttons that glow red, and a screen that becomes a mirror when it’s turned off. There’s another model that features a shiny metal casing along with similar features to the one mentioned above.
There are a number of problems associated with making phones that are stylish. One problem is economic in nature. Namely, because fashion trends are so fickle and change so quickly, a company that focuses on making fashionable electronic products could quickly see all of its efforts go the way of the Razr phone if the winds of style blow the wrong way.
The other problem with fashionable electronic devices is that in many ways, achieving a certain look presents engineering problems. For example, polished metal is stylish these days, but metal doesn’t allow mobile phones to transmit and receive signals as well as plastic does. Overcoming problems like that can contribute to the cost of the phone and therefore to the loss of time and effort in developing it if it falls out of favor too quickly.
The fact that all of these things are concerns clearly show that gadgets have left the fringes of society.