The Metal Aesthetic: China’s Smartphone Fad

 

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The last 2 weeks sent shockwaves through the Chinese smartphone and tablet device markets, with the long-anticipated announcements of new devices by Xiaomi and Meizu. Tech giants in their own right, both companies have come out with guns-blazing with new and improved devices.

But once we step-back from the hype, there’s a striking similarity between them (and indeed, many other devices currently on the market) – ALL METAL DEVICES ARE IN!

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Not only does this move signal a paradigm shift from the cheaper reinforced plastic versions of their predecessors, but perhaps we’re finally seeing a responsiveness from tech companies to the demand for a ‘premium-feeling’ that only metal can deliver.

Smartphones from HTC and Apple have sported metal exteriors for several years, so it’s a welcome relief to have a metal-clad warrior bursting onto (and from!) the Chinese domestic stage.

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Why Aren’t Mobile Phones Smaller?

Doesn’t Nokia 8810 phone and its metal cover bring great memories from the 90s? At that time,  people got to witness the mobile phone wars with two Nordic technology enterprises, the Finnish Nokia and the Swedish Ericsson. That time resembles much of what is happening now between Apple and Samsung, the phones were just different.

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 Michael Douglas with a ‘log’ in the movie Wall Street.

The first mobile phone came out in 1973 when Motorola released its 1.1 kilogram ‘log’ that took 10 hours to charge and that could be used only 30 minutes. On 1989 Motorola released the first commercial phone Motorola DynaTAC 8000X that was like its predecessor and its insane price was 4000 US dollars.

From 1989 until the early 2000s Nokia designed the world’s best mobile phones whose prices  were feasible for average consumers. Nokia gained much popularity trough movies as its 8110 ‘banana phone’ was viewed in the sci-fi movie called Matrix.

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Since the early days, mobile phones were really big and thereby Nokia also tried to design smaller and smaller phones. In the 90s it was fashion to own a small phone, smaller than anyone else had, or they were picked at school. Since the rise of smart phones, phones have grown bigger again. If there weren’t any tablets today, smart phones could grow to those measures. Even now the boundary between tablets and phablets seems to be really narrow.

But what was it that prevented Nokia and other manufacturers from designing even smaller phones? Technology does not set boundaries as components can be designed to be basically as small as people want. The main reason was the distance between mouth and ear. Smaller phones would not have been ergonomic enough. That simple!

Nokia 7650 was the first Nokia phone to have a built-in camera. It was also viewed in Tom Cruise‘s movie The Minority Report.

Like back in the days, today there is a lot of metal inside phones. Metals such as copper, aluminum and galvanized steel are used in phones such as the iPhone 6. Those metals can be purchased from Shanghai Metal Corporation. In order to learn more, please visit our website. Please also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and original articles: Nokia, Youtube, Web Designer Depot, Know Your Mobile, Comunidad Movistar, Parade