Product Design, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
In 2011, Bang Design collaborated with Wiwo with a purpose to shift a large swathe of feature phone users to their first smartphone experience. This is at a time when touch screen phones were uncommon, and most users outside urban areas had had poor experience with low cost touchscreen based devices. To add to the problem, most had never heard of Android, or used a largely English Interface.
Feature phone users were accustomed to two functions. First, a set of physical hot keys below the screen that allowed them to receive and cut calls, access their call list, and a contextual menu. Second, blasting FM radio, on a large built in speaker was a common way of sharing personal taste. To enable a new experience without needing new behaviour, we mapped the 4 Android Froyo keys to physical keys below the touchscreen, including ‘accept’ and ‘hang-up’ icons, meaning that users could still continue their habits as they had for years. We also added massive speakers, and a telescopic FM antenna, the first for any smartphone anywhere. This also afforded space to make the device more rugged for rural use, and house a large battery for long use between charges.