A Pocket-Friendly Smartphone!

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Mobile phones have changed a staggering amount in the past decade, the incredible advancements in technology have at times made it difficult for us to be separated from the devices, and for people who are less familiar with mobiles phones, the task to learn their plethora of features seems borderline impossible and extremely daunting.

Designer, Pierrick Romeuf set out to solve these issues by finding the perfect balance between ease-of-use and modern smartphone levels of functionality, the solution came in the form of Minima! At first glance it’s hard not to notice the tiny proportions of this phone; the 3-inch display is just big enough to allow a keyboard to be used comfortably, and as it maintains the commonly used 18:9 screen ratio, any mobile apps that are on the market are compatible with this quirky device!

All buttons have been moved to the bottom edge of the phone to allow for the compact size. This certainly makes Minima a pocket-friendly alternative to modern smartphones!

Designer: Pierrick Romeuf

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Minima is a concept phone that counts with all the main functionalities of a smartphone, a comfortable screen keyboard, and a pocket-sized body. Its discreet and functional design are the perfect combination for an effective communication tool in 2018.

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Minima works with a hybrid OS, a mix between a smartwatch OS (for main features and native apps), and a smartphone OS in order to fit any apps available on the market, thanks to its 18:9 ratio screen.

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By transferring all the main functions (“Back”, “Home”, and “Camera”) from the screen to the phone’s sides, the screen becomes less busy and more comfortable. A simple slide button on the side makes it easy to unlock the device, while pressing any of the buttons gives you access to the “Time” (and upon release, the screen goes back to sleep mode). Minima counts with all connectivity features needed to access Wifi or listening to music from a wireless speaker. Finally, it has a thin battery thanks to the smaller screen size, which allows for a low energy consumption.

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With the Oppo Find X, slider phones are officially back

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It appears that we’ve come full circle. We went from candybar phones to clamshells, to sliders, back to the candybar (with every smartphone following that framework), and then in the pursuit to have bezel-less displays, phones are revising the slider format to hide elements like the front-facing camera. After a few companies like Vivo and a lesser known Doogee started experimenting with sliding formats, it became evident that the fastest way to a bezel-free phone would be to go for the hide+slide technique… and that’s what Oppo (the parent company of Oneplus) is doing with its Find X.

The Find X quite literally is all screen. With a stunningly high screen to bezel ratio, the Oppo Find X has only pixels on its front and a slick plain surface on its back. But where are the cameras? Oh, they’re hiding within the phone. Switch on the camera app and the top of the phone slides open (you don’t need to do anything manually) to reveal a dual camera on the back, and a pretty fancy 25 megapixel camera on the front that not only clicks amazing selfies, it also works as facial recognition device… because in the quest for purity, the Find X has no fingerprint scanner either.

While the end result is a phone that’s slightly thick (and I’m honestly fine with that), it means phones finally will be all screen and that’s marvelous… but I probably would think twice before owning a Find X. As a slider phone owner (for four years) myself, I’ve learned that moving parts on tech are usually the first to fail (Oppo should have realized this with its debut phone, the N1). The slider mechanism works on its own, without needing human intervention, which on paper sounds great, but practically, it may not be such a bed of roses. Oppo says that the slider activates within milliseconds to pop open the front camera, detect your face, and unlock your phone, but if that technology were to ever fail, it means going back to using swipe patterns, or worse still… never having access to your front or back camera. The sliding mechanism also means you can never put a protective case on the Oppo Find X, which may not always be the best idea if you’re a member of the fellowship of fallen phones (it also means the phone isn’t water-resistant like every smartphone today). However, for people willing to take that chance, the Oppo Find X does look like quite a spectacular phone. It comes with up to 256Gb of storage, 8Gb of RAM, a 3730mAh battery, and it goes on sale in China today, with a global launch in the offing… and with that, do we finally say goodbye to the notch? I don’t really know, but hell the bezel-less front looks rather marvelous!

Designer: Oppo

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Image Credits: The Verge

Read More: Killing The Bezel Means Killing The Smartphone

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Blackberry’s new concept phone is perfect for their target audience

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The Blackberry has always maintained its reputation of being the ideal businessman’s phone. It’s handy and useful, comes with all the apps you need to stay productive, doesn’t distract with games or social apps, is quite secure, and until the touchscreen trend took over, it had its own qwerty keyboard that made typing out emails on the phone a literal breeze… however, somewhere down the line Blackberry followed the bandwagon and got lost among bigger players. The Blackberry Network concept hopes to change that by once again, being built to do exactly what it’s good at.

The BB Network isn’t a phone, its your enterprise communication solution. Build explicitly and rather well for all your office needs, the BB Network is your go-to device for everything related to work. It comes in a size that’s small enough to get the job done while occupying as less space as possible. Built to work as the RFID card that you would use to swipe into our out of your office, the BB Network is exactly that size too, and can be hung around from your neck or clipped to your pocket, much like your office ID. It’s even optimized to work keeping your office schedule and needs in mind, giving you access to your tasks, reminders, mails, flight tickets, etc. all accessible from within the home screen. The phone also comes with BBM Hub, Blackberry’s answer to Slack, and and its own payments gateway that allows you to use your phone as a payment card. Another great feature is the Network’s Meeting Mode, a mode that lets your phone focus only on functionality, silencing all calls and notifications while you’re in a meeting. Putting your phone in the Meeting Mode also turns your phone into a multimedia device, allowing you to use it as a digital pointer, and to control presentations directly from within your phone.

Blackberry’s strength has always been its appeal to a particular target audience. Rather than pandering to the consumer market, BB Network does what Microsoft did a long time ago… stay true to the ever-demanding, yet loyal world of business and enterprise!

Designers: Anish Shakthi, Phaniram Lalpet, Kamaljeet Kaur, Raghavendra Rao & Prateyush Das.

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Wireless charging doesn’t have to be boring…

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Building on the idea that a charging phone shouldn’t be a useless one, the Octagon Wireless Charger, quite like the Baseus Maruko Charging Cable, was designed to serve as a means for charging your phone as well as a multi-position stand for your phone. Its truncated rhombicuboctahedral shape gives it a rather neat looking sculptural/skeletal aesthetic, allowing it to not just sit on your desk but shine on your desk (literally too). Plug the cable through the back, place your phone on the non-slip front and keep your phone at any angle, in both portrait and landscape (and even diagonal) modes. The charger even comes with a rather neat glowing ring around the periphery of its charging pad to indicate active charging.

Unlike traditional chargers, the Octagon allows you to use your phone without having to lift it off the charging surface. Its design adds flavor to your desk thanks to its unique design, and functionality to your workspace by giving you the freedom to interact with your phone while it’s charging. It’s a win-win for everyone!

The Octagon is a winner of the K-Design Award for the year 2018.

Designer: Jungjun

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Yeezy Gone Mobile

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I could never quite hop on the YEEZY footwear train but the phone? Now, that’s something I can get behind. As designer Osay Imarhiagbe perfectly puts it, it’s a “monochromatic reduction of the traditional mobile UI.” Meaning, it’s a response to the modern trend of reducing mobile distraction.

In every sense, it’s been reduced to the most fundamental elements and functions like making calls, texting and basic alerts. There aren’t even any ports or buttons to press thanks to its wirelessly charging system. Similarly, the screen of the phone is merely a panel with a touch sensitive LED array (a reference to the recent stage designs of John McGuire, featured as part of Kanye West’s Saint Pablo Tour).

If the thought of giving up your photo functions and social apps is giving you anxiety, don’t worry. It can also be used in tandem with your existing smartphone via Bluetooth just for those moments when you want to momentarily unplug.

Designer: Osay Imarhiagbe

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One Beautiful, Bendy Phone

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Until we get a full transparent display, the Orbit smartphone will have to do! It expands on the trend of bezel-less design with a feature that makes it almost seem transparent – a camera that remains on and constantly reflects the environment behind it.

Other cool features include a flexible OLED screen and ductile enclosure that not only give it an ergonomic bend for ergonomics but make it near-unbreakable (which is exactly what we’ve been craving from phones that only seem to get MORE breakable). Another is a circular, centered flash ring that’s capable of delivering variations in light intensity to create the perfect amount of flash for each photo and to apply a neat “ring flash eye effect” in the subject’s eyes.

Designer: Lucas Couto

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Inconspicuous Diabetes Management

Diabetes Management is essential to a patient, but the process can be confusing and inconvenient, as well as being another item for them to have to carry around with them. Like the majority of healthcare related products, the aesthetic that they carry is medical and unattractive, and they certainly don’t reflect the personality of the patient accurately.

Glucosio is a phone case that has a glucose meter seamlessly integrated into the design. It connects to the patient’s phone using Bluetooth and by using the dedicated app they are able to track their data. The application also offers the capability of meal logging, keeping all their data in one place!

At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking that the case is just another power bank; all of the unattractive qualities of a medical product have been completely removed, in their place is a sleek and inconspicuous design with a monochromatic color scheme.

Designer: Dousan Miao

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The world’s smallest portable charger is big on convenience

What a time to live in when your charger, that brick and wire duo that give life to your phone but are either too bulky or too entangle-prone to carry around, that charger of yours, becomes worthy of the EDC category. Touted as the smallest phone charger in the world, the Chargerito is literally the size of a car key-fob, and transforms swiftly and smoothly into two prongs and connector that you can plug into a socket and charge your phone. The connector comes with a hinge that folds inwards when not in use (as do the prongs), and swivels outwards to turn into a charging stand for your phone as it rests against the wall, making it stable so that it doesn’t fall.

Created by a bunch of entrepreneurs who sought to make the phone’s most important accessory as accessible as everything else, the Chargerito uses the smallest components available on the market and comes in Lightning, USB-C, and MicroUSB variants. What’s cooler is that it even integrates a bottle opener into the design to sweeten the deal. With its handy size, the Chargerito puts the power to charge any and every device you own in your own palms… and it comes with a delightfully sassy tagline… “Our competitors are giants”!

Designers: Alex Andon, Nick Velander & Drew Hauck.

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Blloc is the most minimalist full-feature smartphone ever made

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With a stunning slick body, a great 5.5 inch LCD display, a fingerprint sensor, dual cameras on the back, a headphone jack, and all the makings of a great phone, the Blloc is exactly that. A great phone, but it’s a different great phone. Designed purely around simplicity and sustainability, the Blloc is a phone made to embrace minimalism and longevity in every way possible… without compromising on the smartphone experience.

First to come to one’s notice is Blloc’s OS, redesigned completely to last hours longer than any conventional phone, and to be simple, smart, and intuitive. Designed to work completely in monochrome, the Blloc’s OS saves incredible amounts of power by running everything in greyscale (something the Instagram app does too with its black white and red UI). However, were you to choose to view images, videos, webpages, etc. in color, simply place your finger on the fingerprint sensor and Blloc’s LCD display lights up with vivid colors, seamlessly transitioning from greyscale to full-spectrum color, blurring the lines between a great experience and great (read: longer) performance.

Simple and sublime, Blloc’s OS doesn’t distract with flashing dots, numbers, banners, and notifications helter skelter. Made to let you focus on the task at hand, the OS has everything you’d need, from Maps to Messenger, Uber, Spotify, Instagram, Gmail, Skype, Whatsapp, News, etc… all designed to work beautifully, seamlessly, and incredibly quick, thanks to the power saving operating system. Designed to perform, and to last, without compromise, the Blloc also lets you click incredible pictures with its dual-camera setup that’s capable of capturing RAW output and 4K video at 30fps, all boosted by the fact that your screen actually ends up draining less of your battery and memory. Simple, smart, and conceptually spectacular, I can’t wait to see the phone in action once it launches. This MAY just be the best phone to curb your smartphone screen addiction while also boosting its performance multiple-fold! Besides, would you look at how wonderful its simplistic packaging is too?!

Designer: Blloc

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This Phone Nails the “Wet Look”

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From the maker of these woody wireless phones comes yet another aesthetic alternative to run of the mill designs. It too gets its inspiration from nature but, this time, it’s not wood — it’s water!

Simply called “Aqua,” this fresh take on the smartphone nails the “wet look.” You won’t find any straight lines or rough edges on its fluid form, rather, its screen and back are equally smooth with exaggerated curves. The result looks liquid-like yet ergonomic and pleasing to hold in the palm. Other innovative features include a projected keyboard (a first for a smartphone) and a built-in stand that’s seamlessly integrated into the body.

Designer: Branislav Varnicic

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