Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Basic Beauty

NR21 DESIGN together with Vodafone Design Team introduces one of its latest designs, the Vodafone 135. This will be one of the most affordable mobiles on the market. The Vodafone 135 is a classic candy bar phone, designed to make mobile communications affordable in developing markets, thanks to a short two line black and white display suitable for calls and texts. It will be available this summer on prepay tariffs.

The pure and slim shaped VF 135 shows a high level of precision and detail compared to other entry devices, due to the clear geometry and an interplay between matte and glossy areas. All keys are integrated in one rubber matte with a prominent relief for improved haptic feeling. The matte rubber material shows a clear contrast to the high-gloss display lens. A molded pattern on the backside gives the handset a modern and appealing look.

Designer: Nr21 Design

The Obsession

About Aphrodite Collection:
The Obsession collection was first inspired by Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, lust & beauty.
Obsession marvelled in her infinite qualities. From that moment, it was certain that the first collection would be sculpted & touched with the beauty of her name.

Like a sheer work of art, each individual phone is sculpted and crafted by hand.
The unique and distinct marking of the phone casing is created using state of the art precision laser technology.
To put simply, Obsession mobile engineers work painstakingly hard to create a handset which is visually and naturally stunning in every sense. This skill in itself can take a lifetime to achieve.

Elegance, Poise, and purposeful stance are achieved throughout. Intense Attraction is inevitable & a singular feature within.

Aphrodite Collection Construction:
The phone sits quietly inside a cow leather hide, hand stitched compartment.
A handmade Crocodile skin briefcase with reinforced combination lock & velvet interior acts as a chamber for the entire unit - in fact this collection is the only one in the world to offer such sophisticated housing for a phone. The soft velvet interior creates a beautiful ambience for this timeless collection.

Each piece in the collection is available in either 18 karat white & 24 karat yellow silk gold plated casing.
The phone encrusted with 2.1ct cultured diamonds which meander around the entire phone. Each has been carefully set by hand. Each can cut glass with ease.

The phone screen is built using a reinforced Sapphire Crystal Glass exterior - It wears harder than normal glass and provides a better protection layer against scratches/blemishes. Pure Sapphire boules are sliced in to wafers and polished to form transparent layers.

A "Buttery" Soft feel of the phone is achieved using supple, hand stitched Full Grain Leather.
The natural Full-Grain surface will wear better than other leather. Rather than wearing out, it will develop a natural "Patina" and grow more beautiful over time. The leather itself remains in its most natural state, which gives the phone a deeper classic touch & aura.

The leather is hand moulded and stretched to "blanket" the back of the phone and carefully hand stitched with the aid of high precision microscopes.
The keypad itself is also a work of art, it is separated using gold section layers. A reinforced Aphrodite Collection card in 18k white/24k yellow gold is laser etched and accommodates the collection

Aphrodite Collection Features:
* Sapphire Crystal Glass LCD screen 2"
* HD colour resolution
* 2 Megapixel integrated digital camera
* PC Synchronisation via USB/USB connectivity
* MMS (multimedia message service)
* EAT (Enhanced Acoustics Technology)
* Multi Lingual
* Dual Sim card technology - allows the use of 2 different sim cards remaining active on the phone at the same time & during conversations.
* Unique Ocean Blue Floodlit keypad. The Keypad also uses a patented "soft key" technology which allows effortless key strokes
* External Memory - T-Flash Card
* Handsfree facility
* MP3
* MP4
* Calculator
* World Time
* To Do List
* Unit Converter
* Standby - 120hrs
* Talk time - 5 hours

* Travel charger
* Dimensions: 110*47*18mm
* Operating Frequency: Dual band GSM 900/1800 - O2 / 3 Networks not supported
* Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, New Zealand and Australia

The Obsession Aphrodite collection accommodates the following languages:

* English
* Français
* Deutsch
* Türkçe
* Espa?ol
* Italiano
* Português
* Bahasa Indonesia

Simply Connected, Peek Review

It’s an email device. That’s it. That’s all it does and like the tagline “simply connected,” it don’t get much simpler than this. Meet Peek. I’ve spent the past month using it as my exclusive go-to email device. Tho I have an iPhone, did the Peek meet my standards? Hit the jump to read my review

If you couldn’t tell from the pictures, it’s thin - very thin. The build is surprisingly sturdy and the rubberized face lends a sense of robustness in hand. The 2.5? screen isn’t the brightest or color dense but it gets the job done. The UI is pretty straight forward all controlled by the jog dial and back button on the side. If you’re familiar with Blackberries, you’ll feel right at home. The keys are raised and rubberized too. They’re clicky which is good but require a bit too much pressure to depress for my liking. The battery is removable but all you need is the supplied mini-USB a/c adapter to charge it.

You can only set up one email account, in my case I used GMAIL which sync’d beautifully. It can read attachments but beware, you’ll have to tag specific messages to save, otherwise old messages get deleted to make room for new ones. Receiving email was instantaneous and this is where this thing SHINES…

Wireless service comes with the Peek. You read right. No contracts, no limits, or caps. Just $19/month and your ready to go. Awesome right?

What we liked:

* Slim, consumer friendly looking device
* Easy to use
* Built-in themes
* Affordable monthly service
* 3 colors to choose from
* Only $49.95

What could be improved:

* Interface is slow at times
* Scrolling with the jog wheel isn’t accurate
* Battery life is short, lasts about a day and a half
* No email sorting, no junk filtering
* Screen color should be more dense for photo attachments
* 8MB memory too small

The Peek isn’t for everyone, especially if you already have a smartphone, but I don’t think pros are the Peek’s target market. This is for that friend or family member who wants their email on the go without all the complexities of a smartphone, contracts, and UI quirks. At $49, it’s a steal. Simply Connected, simply Peek. It’s email done right in one beautiful package.

Not So Red But Sassy

Bono…oh Bono! I would do anything for you. I will even humor this cool looking Zik MP3 player that endorses Product Red along with Sony. Funnily, Sony is not even a part of the project, but that doesn’t stop designer Harold Terosier a bit. Bluetooth, recycled plastic, docking station, USB, the usual gamut packed into a 3-centimeter pendant player.
Product Red is a good cause, so I am willing to let go this faux pas by the designer, hopefully you guys will do the same. BTW Bono would I look sassy in RED?

Designer: Harold Terosier

Mac Book Mini

Open Debate: What Should This Mac Book Mini Hold?

Everybody has an opinion and at YD we encourage it. However this time around I want to do things differently. I came across these renders for a Mac Book Mini by Isamu Sanada (he is a devoted Apple freak). Prod as I did, he didn’t have any suggestions or ideas on what exactly this book should hold. Except for the fact that it has a very convenient sliding track pad, the design gives away nothing. Heck we are a design site so lets get some ideas from you erudite guys.

Lets deliberate/debate and see how we can make this Notebook the ultimate Apple Book…. just for fun! Are you guys with me?

Leave your ideas, opinions in the comments.

Designer: Isamu Sanada

When Plants Inspire Lights

You remember that photosynthesis lesson you bunked in school? That was way long back in time, but folks at D’arc Studio revisited that period and decided to haunt you with that chapter (pun totally intended!) The Sinthesya is an indoor/outdoor light that looks like it’s out of a sci-fi movie set and draws inspiration from nature’s food-factory. Solar power is the name of the game, but just in case of an emergency, an electrical plug has been included.

Shaped like a plant, the light features an adjustable base, a long winding stem, Lithium battery cells and a leaf panel that sports fotovoltaic flexible panels on the outside and 10 LED lights on the inside. A soft-touch dimmer lets you adjust the lights and when you place the leaf-head in a closed position, it gears up for some sun soaking recharge.

What makes it waterproof is the silicone rubber detailing and the green factor comes from the use of recycled ABS made by printing and injection.

So in case you missed the lesson: sun + plant shape = cool lights

Designer: Daniele Calisi, Alessio Tommasetti, Rosa Topputo & Camillo Vanacore

Emergency Air Or Pretend You’re A Dolphin

I’ve only been scuba diving once and the entire time I kept thinking, “what if I run out of air?” Silly question since I had a huge tank strapped to my back and an instructor tethered to me but that ’sinking’ feeling kept nagging at me. Had I had the Phantom which sits on the chest plate of your wet suit, I may have felt more reassured. The simple device holds 5 minutes worth of air. Not sure if that’s enough but it’s the little things that count.

Designer: Ricardo Baiao

Get Ready for Lots of 11.6-Inch Netbooks

When the netbook market first exploded onto the scene with the original Asus Eee PC, the seven-inch wonder was all we knew. Since then, the different configuration have left the market quite cluttered and confusing. Well, it's about to get a little more confusing.

LCD panel makers will be producing a series of 11.6-inch panels this year and netbook manufacturers will be snatching up a bunch of these to plunk into their latest mobile computing solutions. This 11.6-inch size is in addition to the existing 7-inch, 8-inch, 8.9-inch, 10.1-inch, and 12.1-inch models that already populate the industry.

The plan is to have these 11.6-inch screens ready for the third quarter of this year and there's already word that heavy hitters Acer and Asustek Computer have expressed a lot of interest in launching 11.6-inch netbooks.

There are two main advantages to this size. The 11.6-inch screens allow for a rich 1366x768 resolution at a more affordable price than the same resolution on the 10.1-inch models (that's why most do the 1024x600 pixel thing). Also because of the slightly larger size, a more comfortable keyboard could presumably be integrated into the netbook.

At the same time, you've got to wonder if there is any point to 11.6-inch netbooks when they're already making 12-inchers. Is that extra half of an inch really that big of a deal?

Designing the Kindle 2

SEATTLE--Amazon wanted to make the Kindle 2 hot, but not too hot.

It gave it a slimmer design and more storage, but there are a lot of things Amazon could have added, but didn't. Things like a color display not only would make the device pricier and give it a shorter battery life, but would also make the gadget uncomfortable to hold.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up a Kindle 2 at the device's recent launch in New York City.
(Credit: David Carnoy/CNET Networks)

"One of the great things about Kindle is it doesn't ever get hot," Amazon Vice President Ian Freed said in an interview at Amazon's downtown office here. That's important, Freed said, given that the company has one main goal with the Kindle--making the product as invisible to users as possible when they are reading.

"The most important thing for the Kindle to do is to disappear," Freed said. That was the goal with the first device and was also a key factor in deciding what would go in the sequel, which started shipping on Monday. There are the obvious factors, like the thinner, sleeker design. But there are also things like an improved cellular modem. As a result, Kindle users will find themselves out of range in fewer places to get updates or buy a new book.

One of the biggest new features is one that is impossible to see--the new Whisper Sync feature that will eventually let people read the same electronic book on multiple devices, including Kindles and cell phones.

Although he wouldn't say just when people will have Kindle content on their cell phones, Freed did confirm that one won't need to have a Kindle device to read Kindle content, though he suspects some of those who try Kindle on a cell phone will ultimately buy Amazon's device.

The cell phone option, like a controversial new text-to-speech feature built into the Kindle 2, is more designed for short bits of content than as the primary mode of reading, Freed said. A cell phone is good for those unexpected times where one has a few minutes to read, while text-to-speech is good for those who are right in the middle of a cliffhanger and have to get in the car or cook dinner.

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On the text-to-speech front, Amazon has come under fire for trying to take over for the audio book market, but Freed noted that only a fraction of books even come out in audio form. He also noted that the feature works with blogs, newspapers, and other content.

"Audio books are a great experience with a trained narrator or sometimes the author (reading the book)," Freed said.

Getting more content onto the Kindle remains a goal, Freed said. Although the company has 240,000 books--and nearly all of The New York Times bestseller list--Freed said the company's long-term goal is to get every book, including out-of-print titles, onto the device.

Newspapers and blogs are also important, though Freed wouldn't say whether he bought into the notion that some newspapers would be wise to stop home delivery and instead pass out Kindles to subscribers.

"I'll leave it to others to figure out what the economic model will be for newspapers," he said. "Our newspaper customers have been happy working with us. It's a new source of revenue for them."

Amazon, he said, would certainly be happy to talk to newspapers interested in trying something more radical. "We'd certainly be open to working with any newspapers."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sony Ericsson Idou

The new Sony Ericsson Idou will probably create as much hype as the original XPERIA. Not only it is the first 12 megapixel GSM cameraphone, but it's also the first device presented to ever run on the brand new open source Symbian user interface that's still being developed by the Symbian Foundation. The 3.5-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels, GPS and Wi-Fi and the relatively compact size are just an added bonus to that already impressive novel package.

The Sony Ericsson Idou is nowhere near complete - they haven't even come up with a marketing model name yet as Idou is still code name for the device. The show-off devices that the Sony Ericsson staff had at the event varied from graphically rich dummy phones to basic early-stage prototypes. Amazingly though the new user interface is perhaps faster and more fluid than everything else that we have seen (including iPhone). We really hope that the final product will be as responsive as the units showed today.

Perhaps the design of the Sony Ericsson Idou is not totally final, however at this stage it certainly looks like a nice mix of LG Viewty and Sony Ericsson C905.

Interestingly enough, the Idou uses microSD card slot (visible on the side), which hints that the manufacturer of the device is not Sony Ericsson themselves - much like with the XPERIA X1.

Much like XPERIA X1 last year, it would take Sony Ericsson at least half a year to get the device rolling into production. Actually, we bet it won't be before October or November that we see an actual retail Idou.

The only commitment regarding the Idou availability that Sony Ericsson are taking right now is second half of 2009. Well, guess what - they said exactly the same thing about XPERIA X1 last February and it took them 8 months to push it to the market. Just don't hold your breath just yet.

Key Features:

Status: Coming soon. Exp. release 2009, Q3
Dimensions: 111 x 54 x 15 mm
Colour Display: TFT touchscreen, 16M colors
Size: 360 x 640 pixels, 3.5 inches
Ringtones: Polyphonic, MP3
Camera: 12 MP, 4000 x 3000 pixels, autofocus
Bluetooth: Yes, v2.0 with A2DP
Infrared port: No
USB: Yes, v2.0
GPRS: Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 - 48 kbps
3G: HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps
Radio: Stereo FM radio with RDS

Get Korean Chic With The Mashimaro mp3 Player

As a sort of dirty mouthed, toilet humor version of Hello Kitty, Mashimaro takes a spot as one of the iconic cartoon figures in Korea. Enter the ultimate Mashimaro mp3 player, its nine hours of audio-only playback allows formats like MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF, WAV and APE. Not exactly groundbreaking in design and functionality, but you can’t deny the allure of obscure Korean cultural references and the jealousy it will inspire in all your other white friends. Also note the appropriately placed Aux input after the jump.

Designer: Soricom

Time is Creepin on My Wrist and I’m Peepin’ It

What kind of time are you telling? The kind the bell tower is selling, or the time that your Mom is yelling? Check the hour hand on the “ON Air,” it’s got the minutes that you need right there. The red light has the time, as minimal as possible. Ask the siblings Asanaliev if you want one, they’ve got the strings that you’ll have to pull, no bull.

Designers Iskender Asanaliev & Adilet Asanaliev have made a quite fine example of the concept of time being contained all in the hour hand. The LED light on the clear display shows the minutes, while the position of the numbers act as the hour hand. And if it weren’t simple enough, setting the time is included in an extremely quaint way:

To set the time you need just to push in the center of the display for 5 seconds and LED flashes, here you push upper or lower corner of the display to set the hour and the left and right corner to set minutes.

Designers: Iskender Asanaliev & Adilet Asanaliev

Display in 16 by 9 or 4 by 3, Literally

Studio FRST is going to get your squared away with a TV that simplifies(?) to an extra degree. The studio says that the form shows the function. That’s true. It’d fit right in at the home of a modernist, probably also at the house of a minimalist. It leaves space to put your tiny fern if you want! Put it right there under the side there! It will look nice, totally nice!

The title of this project is “16943? -intuitive, huh? It’s got a “crystal asymmetrical black picture on a glass base.” As you’d expect, the dvd slot (yes there’s that system built in, how nice), and the controls for the TV are located up under there in that square negative space.

Designer: Studio FRST

Houseboat Colony For Oslo

Now I know that houseboats are a specialty of Amsterdam, but designer Espen Erikstad thinks otherwise. He feels that something like the Loup de Mer is what Oslo needs and that too for the student community. Ha! I can picture all the boys and girls getting all studious and cramming for their term papers over a round of fish and chips! I don’t buy this story one bit!

For an individual unit, the concept of this houseboat looks pretty neat and spacious.
It’s a duplex with ample living quarters and a colony of them co-exiting till the holiday season sets in.
For a student accommodation, it looks very extravagant.
For a globetrotter like me, I would love to spend some time on this!!

Designer: Espen E. Erikstad