PLY by Kamihara Hideo and IIDA

Ply mobile phone
I really like the design language that designer Kamihara Hideo is using in the PLY mobile device. The color palette, shapes reminiscent of the tab’s in document folders, the idea of layers — each building on top of the other as found in wood, and original typography help to create a far warmer, more welcoming device. The stand is a great touch.
As innovative and perhaps impractical as the PLY may be the days of consumers being attracted to hardware as lifestyle is coming to an end. Software and services are now the attractive qualities, not beautiful featured packed devices and the dangly tchotchke that they enable.
PLY by Kamihara Hideo and IIDA

BBC Online – Mobile Audience Classification

BBC Online mobile classification
Erik Huggers, the BBC Director of Future Media and Technology, during a keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, shared their plans to make BBC online more accessible on mobiles, and how the industry as a whole can open up the huge potential of mobile to the benefit of their audience. The outline of this address is online and as a whole it’s a great read but what I found most interesting was his classifications of today’s mobile audience.

… who accesses our services over mobiles? Long term, mobile could become the primary point of internet access for the majority. The potential is stronger for the younger digital natives of today who become the licence payers of tomorrow.
But today’s mobile audience primarily falls into four groups.
“Mobile first” – people who use mobile as their primary access point to the internet.
“Mobile lifestyle” – those who love the convenience of mobile services when they’re on the move.
“Addicted devotees” – the gadget lovers on their phones all the time, even in the internet connected home.
“Social animals” – people particularly driven by social networking.
It’s with these people in mind we focus on today’s mobile propositions.

You can read the outline here: BBC Online – our mobile future. Via Putting people first.

Link Love: Mobile Tech.

Small pieces, loosely joined.

From the archives:

Japan’s Love Hotels

Japan's Love Hotels
Unlike the dank motels where Americans allegedly seek anonymous sex, Japan’s love hotels are playful and unapologetically sexual. Photographer Misty Keasler shows the humor, desire, and even the loneliness of these empty rooms.

Read more

Windows Phone: death to hardware as feature

Windows Phone
One thing that I have realized from this launch is that we now no longer talk about hardware, the conversation is now centering on software and experience. Perhaps having empathy for consumers, and their needs, and the death of the feature set can’t be far behind.
Below are a couple of my thoughts of the announcement based on what I have read and seen to date.

It’s been a few days since the launch of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Series (try saying that name over and over) and my interest in their new phone OS has only slightly abated. Windows Phone 7 Series is a complete rebuild of their phone OS which features smooth services integration and a distinctive new interface.
My initial attraction is the interface aesthetic with it’s reliance on typography and low information density; an approach I’ve always been a fan of. It’s content first with little to no traditional UI and none of the clutter of the old Windows Mobile, now dubbed ‘Windows Phone Classic‘ (will this be Microsofts “new Coke”?). It may prove to be fraught with usability problems in a device this size but at this point I find it very attractive.
Josh Topolsky shares his initial excitement:

The design and layout of 7 Series’ UI (internally called Metro) is really quite original, utilizing what one of the designers (Albert Shum, formerly of Nike) calls an “authentically digital” and “chromeless” experience. What does that mean? Well we can tell you what it doesn’t mean — no shaded icons, no faux 3D or drop shadows, no busy backgrounds (no backgrounds at all), and very little visual flair besides clean typography and transition animations. The whole look is strangely reminiscent of a terminal display (maybe Microsoft is recalling its DOS roots here) — almost Tron-like in its primary color simplicity. To us, it’s rather exciting. This OS looks nothing like anything else on the market, and we think that’s to its advantage.

And Luke Wroblewski compares the information density of the iPhone’s photos experience with Microsoft’s Window Phone 7 Series experience.
I do like what they call “the start experience” and Hubs were at first fairly interesting; everything I read touted it as an activities based organization scheme. A nice alternative from the laundry list of apps. you are given on the iPhone. While the iPhone’s approach is due for some refinement, Hubs is nothing more than an additional abstraction layer which includes social media/web integration. Tighter integration with services is cool but what I have seen doesn’t lead me to believe that they are truly delivering a “personalized way of navigating the things that you care about”. It’s about what they care about.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been interested in any products coming from Microsoft. Now that they have our attention, I’m looking forward to see what they deliver.
See also: Switched On: Making it different versus making a difference and
Windows Phone Designer Seeks the Right Balance.

The Effects Of Mobile Telephones On Social And Individual Life

The Effects Of Mobile Telephones On Social And Individual Life
Yes it’s an old study but it’s full of wonderful insight which is still relevant today. A few excerpts:

Whatever it is called, and wherever it is used, this simple, accessible technology alters the way in which individuals conduct their everyday lives. It has extensive implications for the cultures and societies in which it is used; it changes the nature of communication, and affects identities and relationships. It affects the development of social structures and economic activities, and has considerable bearing on its users’ perceptions of themselves and their world.

The telephone has always been important to the lovelorn and the lustful, but the personal nature of the mobile changes the nature of the roles it plays, dispensing with the old necessity to sit by the phone and wait for it to ring, but adding to the significance of exchanging numbers and making calls.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the earliest uses of the word ‘mobile’ was in association with the Latin phrase mobile vulgus, the excitable crowd. Today’s mobile lives up to these origins: the mobile introduces new senses of speed and connectivity to social life, establishing new kinds of relationships between individuals and with the urban crowd. In this respect, the mobile can facilitate the emergence of a new private world, a virtual community which can be pulled together in a matter of moments.

on the mobile
the effects of mobile telephones
on social and individual life

Dr Sadie Plant

Nokia Feel

Nokia “Feel” is designed to be a fun and interesting way to explore what your Nokia handset can do based on how you feel. It’s interesting in theory and considering the current state of interface design on Nokia devices, it may be the only way you find software hidden deep within the menu structure of the OS. Unfortunately, like many of the software efforts at Nokia, it’s half baked. Instead of simply recommending you call a friend or browse the web, why couldn’t they actually make the device useful by tying together location based services, thereby suggesting an activity outside the phone itself. Feeling sad? There is a comedy playing at a theatre a block from you. Lonely? There are 5 other Nokia users at a café across town. There are lots of possibilities for an interface like this, especially for those of us who often find ourselves in a strange city, but as is it’s as interesting and exciting as the presenter in the video above.
More at Nokia Beta Labs. Via Textually.

Hobo Shoulder Bag

Hobo Shoulder Bag
Combining classic looks, great materials and Japanese design, these shoulder bags from Hobo have all the elements of a great everyday bag. Naturally I love the materials – 100% cotton canvas is finished in distressed cow leather, nylon and aged bronze hardware. I’m not a fan of buckle straps but otherwise this looks to be perfect bag to carry your essentials.
Hobo Washed Canvas No.4 Shoulder Bag

The Bookbag for Kids

The Bookbag for Kids
My daughter is already a world traveller and almost constantly on the go so it seems only fitting that I also introduce her to the joys of having some high quality gear to make her treks more enjoyable. She has a nice carry-on, a great backpack and a school bag but I think a nice soft messenger would make a nice addition to her growing collection. This Bookbag from Moop, made from a durable cotton corded canvas, would be perfect for her books, rocks, toys, piano books and art supplies. It features an avocado green organic cotton lining, large interior zipper pocket, 2 deep pockets under the flap, and d-rings to clip her flashlight or tchotchkes. It looks good and is washable. Love it.

Read more

OBEY City Tote

OBEY City Tote
A stylish and sleek tote from OBEY, the City Tote is made from the usual coated canvas materials with a faux leather bottom to add a visual weight to the bottom while keeping the price in check. I like the locking system and the way the straps come up through the flap. Reminds me of some pilot cases. This design should help keep prying hands out of your bag.
The problem with many bags such as this and the similar bags I own is that their durability allows you to over-fill them with gear. As they never seem to have proper straps you end up losing the feeling in your hands between trunk and wherever your destination. The straps on the City Tote are no different, they suck, but if you can conquer the propensity to carry too much stuff than this bag is going to feel good as well as look good.
OBEY City Tote

Chester Wallace Tote

chester wallace tote
The Chester Wallace Tote draws it’s inspiration from classic tool bags and features a heavy weight cotton canvas construction with reinforced bottom. It’s amazing what a little colour will do. Without that bright red strap I might not have noticed the bag – it adds a touch of flair to an otherwise utilitarian design.
The Chester Wallace Tote is designed by Patrick Long.

Denim 101: Fundamentals of Jeans

what is denim
Appearing until the end of this month at the Thailand Creative & Design Center the “Denim 101: Fundamentals of Jeans exhibition presents the story of denim: from its origin, characteristics, and unique qualities, to how it became the jeans we know and love today. Ten creative production techniques are illustrated through manufacturing tools and samples from top global and local brands such as PRPS, Edwin, Diesel and Dior Homme”.
I recently had the pleasure of viewing this small showcase and if you have an interest in materials in general or jeans in particular it’s a recommended diversion. More from the TCDC:

The history of jeans goes back for hundreds of years and they are still popular today in the form of trousers made from cotton twill textile called “denim”.
Because of the ruggedness, jeans were initially used as uniforms for blue collar workers and soldiers. Over time, they became a clothing item of choice for people all over the world and have always evolved to keep up with fashion trends. Designers worldwide are finding ways to create a selling factor and a unique identity for their brands, including using modern technology or bringing back traditional tools and methods of manufacturing. These different strategies differentiate the origins and classifications of each brand.

Until February 28th, 2010
TCDC Resource Center
TCDC, 6th Fl., The Emporium Shopping Complex
10.30 – 21.00 (Closed Mondays)

Félix : Urban Bicycle

Félix Urban Bicycle
Félix is a light road bike/bmx hybrid which combines the positive attributes of both to create a new urban biking experience. It features some basic component integration including lights and security apparatus and an aesthetic, though impractical, I appreciate.
I’ve seen some mods. similar to this with compact and foldable bikes, I like the idea of a purpose built bike that might allow for a bit more fun on potholed streets.

Read more