wild-type, a platform for hardware experiments, introduces ‘color’, its first generation of devices; a collection of three smartphones: type I, type II, and type III. the collection is designed with irreverence—supporting a diversity of shapes, sizes, colors, and capabilities. optimized for operating system flexibility, privacy, augmented reality, and extended battery life among other things, the devices are an adventurous departure from tradition.

wild-type reimagines smartphone design with three devices in unusual shapes and colors
type I in orchid and cadmium colorways

 

in 2006, before apple released the iphone, cell phones came in a range of shapes and sizes—with features for dynamic use cases. there was everything from the motorola razr, an ultra-thin flip phone, to the t-mobile sidekick, a chunky mini-computer. since the iphone’s release in 2007, smartphones have become increasingly monolithic. now, phone hardware has become essentially identical; from a distance, apple’s iphone 8, samsung’s galaxy note9, and google’s pixel 2 are nearly indistinguishable (not to mention the xiaomi mi 8 and the motorola p30, both of which are clones of the iPhone X). instead of dramatically altering hardware, apple, samsung, google, and other technology companies are relying on software to differentiate their brands. they place emphasis on virtual assistants like siri, bixby, or the google assistant—or other software-related features like animoji, google lens, unlimited cloud storage, and platform-specific apps. at the same time, device brand, design, form, and color are consistently amongst the most significant factors driving smartphone purchase decisions. in response to this, wild-type color imagines a smartphone collection that leans in to novel physical form as a differentiator.


type II in ultramarine colorway

 

 

wild-type color conjures forms that resonate emotionally, subtly turning the contemporary smartphone design paradigm on its head. it is presented like a fall/winter 2018 seasonal fashion collection, because fashion is the future of technology. in 1998, when steve jobs launched the macintosh, he said that ‘as price points come down and as the consumer market blossoms, design and fashion become even more important’. he went on to describe how G-shock watches were once the most popular watches in the world because of their design—‘not because they tell time better than any other watch’. jobs explains how prior to design entering the watch market, the average american owned a single watch, but that after a ten year period in which the watch industry foregrounded design, the average american owned ten watches.


type III in acid colorway

 

today, the average american owns a single smartphone—but design could change that. in fashion design, jewelry design, architecture, interior design, furniture design, and other expressive design disciplines, form often steals the stage from raw function. meanwhile, industrial hardware design continues to be grounded in stark minimalism and functionalism. current smartphone design has become predictable. wild-type explores the alternative.


type II (above) and type III (below) in ultramarine and acid colorways respectively

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: maria erman| designboom

  • Interesting. However I still see an iPhone design through it. Same machining, same elements, same edges, same buttons, same UI. They argue all the phones look the same and all they did here is to remove the screen notch, and change the proportions of the device… and package in a round one as well, because that is very ergonomic :/

    Glorin Tsiourea says:

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