A new smartphone typology.
Android was becoming the fastest growing phone OS by the time of release of Donut (late 2009). Most Android smartphones came with their own custom interfaces and device styles, creating visual clutter and a paradox of choice for customers. A bulk of the cell phones came in the 3.5” size, with the outsize Dell Streak at 5”. We, at Bang Design, worked with the product strategy team of a $90Bn sales company to create the Eclair smartphone that would have a 4.2” screen, run stock Android, and come equipped with a 8MP camera with a Xenon Flash, and have both MicroUSB and mHDMI connectors. Such a media centric configuration was earlier available only in Nokia’s famed N-Series Symbian phones.
Heavy-weight smartphones were rampant in the market. With the increase in size, we also wanted the Eclair to be lighter than other smartphones; it would truly set us apart. From the ground up, we made a stack-up considering a plastic frame for the display as opposed to a stamped stainless steel one. As a result, the Eclair smartphone would be lighter, and error free in insert molding. We pioneered a new phone typology by moving shut lines from the side to the front and back of the cell phone.
For the first time, a phone was fashioned in a way that the display visible area was symmetric on all sides. Additionally, the back was flat, except for the raised portion to account for the large camera and flash. The 10mm thickness needed us to work with specialty plastic material companies to achieve both, a compelling stack-up as well as a robust design. Several layers of coating were used to create the gloss black zen effect. The device design is quiet. Among our inspirations was the Brionvega Black 201 from 1969, a design so quiet that it did not announce itself until the screen was turned on. The quiet elegance made for a timeless design.