There's no end to what designers can do to mobile phones. Here's a look at some unique phones that are likely to hit the market next year, and do their owners proud.
First on the list is the novel-looking Serenata that comes out of the collaboration between Samsung and Bang and Olufsen. One look at it and you might be excused for thinking that B&O designers had built the phone upside down by mistake.
This is certainly a striking-looking device with a dominant metal scroll wheel on top and a 2.4-inch LCD display underneath. But there is more to it than looks: B&O boasts that the phone's loudspeaker delivers hi-fi quality sound.
This is a big claim indeed, but the feature has been built in not just to impress but to deal with uncompressed loss-less audio files as well. It has four GB of storage space and supports the usual music formats like MP3, WMA, and AAC.
The phone also supports HDSPA connectivity, so web access should be speedy -- as long as you're with an operator who is offering it! Since the phone will only be launched early next year, we can't yet tell you the price, though obviously, it won't be for the faint-hearted.
B&O chief designer David Lewis maintains that the basic idea behind the Seranata is simplicity and one-hand operation. "There are very few actual keys and we used the wheel for all primary operations in the context-sensitive menus, like dialing, writing and accessing music lists. For secondary operations, the wheel is supported by on-screen operations based on sensi-touch technology," he explains in an official release.
Usability is further leveraged by adding B&O's BeoPlayer, a simple software that can access and organise all music files on the PC and conveniently transfer them to the phone.
That's not all -- the company has several other novel concept phones too. According to B&O (India) CEO Prekash Ramsingh, topsy-turvy designs draw a lot of attention from enthusiastic Indian consumers.
"The B&O Serene has attracted a lot of attention and we get serious buyer queries." Despite a 0.3 megapixel VGA resolution and 2.1" display, this dwarf handset has kept sales registers ringing.
It seems as if the introduction of Apple's iPhone and, to a lesser extent, LG's Prada has urged handset designers to return to the drawing board. For Asus, the drawing board seems to have led to the conceptualisation of the Asus Aura handset, according to a technology blog.
Unfortunately, the company has officially denied its involvement in the project. The phone, which has been produced by a Hungarian design company, Egy Studio, resembles the Apple handset but adds a few extra bells and whistles. This includes moveable navigation buttons and a sliding QWERTY keyboard, resulting in a very thin device that is just six millimetre thick.
Then, the Chinese mobile telephone company, Huawei, has presented concepts for new handsets (CeBIT 2007) that may or may not be produced in the near future. The most interesting here are mobile phones with integrated USB connectors that can be used without adaptors or even cables.
The USB adaptor is made with flexible rubber that can be bent at any angle needed, to connect directly to the computer for transmitting data and charging the phone.
A few BenQ-Siemens creative models have also appeared on various blogs. These include Snaked, which looks as if it was made for female enthusiasts. Instead of being carried in hand, this mobile phone is tangled around the wrist or around the arm.
Apart from working as a traditional mobile phone, Snaked promises to have multimedia functionalities and can also monitor the heart beat and other physical conditions of the bearer while working out.
Quite easily, launching futuristic, sometimes wierd-looking product concepts is the latest trend to generate publicity around a brand. Mobile phone manufacturers are, in fact, investing heavily into concept models.
This has encouraged designers like Stefano Casanova to float some conceptual designs on blogs for mobile phones with built-in projector, making the tiny gadget as useful as a laptop. "Everybody loves concepts as they are welcome breaks from the daily mundaneness of life," says Casanova. We agree.