Phones Need To Be Weird Again

A call to bring back the weird shapes and funky layouts of old

Omar Zahran


Abstract painting photo
Image Credit: Vinicius Amano via Unsplash

One of my favorite technology YouTube personalities to follow is Michael Fisher, more commonly known as Mr. Mobile. His content is always high quality and he is not afraid to talk about some fringe tech that most people will not consider. Recently, he has been focusing on some older phones in a series that he calls “When Phones Were Cool”. This series revisits devices from years ago that had daring designs such as the Motorola Aura and Danger Hiptop. The series is particularly interesting to watch today as basically all phones look the same, except for new foldable devices. Looking back at the phones of yesteryear, designs have gone the route of being more practical and uniform as opposed to daring and explorative. As a technology enthusiast, watching these videos has made me wish that the people designing phones would try to be more experimental in their approach.

With this desire in mind, I came across a crowdfunded project from a company named Brandeis with a new phone called Prometheus. At first glance, this phone is radical looking. The device takes a heptagonal shape with a rear camera module that is shaped like an octagon with two hexagon-shaped camera lenses. There is a whole lot of geometry going on with this phone. I was immediately intrigued by this because it looked so damn different than everything else that is out in the market. As the saying goes, however, all that glitters is not gold. This very useful and detailed Reddit post shows that this device is likely a scam. Although this device has started to make me wonder, will we ever get devices that test the boundaries of practical design? And if we do, what would a device that pushes these boundaries look like?

The Nokia Legacy

Nokia 7600