Finally found form factor flourish

Finally found form factor flourish

It would be easy to despair, as it seems the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones did, of finding form factor innovation at a Mobile World Congress dominated more than ever by generic black touchscreen slates. However, an exploration of Fujitsu’s booth revealed a manufacturer not afraid to experiment with different colour and material choices. With the Japanse vendor poised for a global marketing expansion, others would do well to take note.

None of these features is likely – on its own – to translate into a best selling product. However, it suggests an attitude of mind where experimentation in colours, form and physical attributes such as water proofing and toughening are embraced as differentiators. I frequently hear demand for these qualities in user interviews, yet few manufacturers are responding.

Here’s my brief photo essay of Fujitsu’s approach.

The last time I saw a product sporting a red to pink graduated colour fade was the early 1990s mountain biking scene. Well, it seems it may be coming soon to a Fujitsu phone near you:

Fujitsu Arrows handset sports a funky red to pink colour fade - inspired by 1990s mountain bike frames?

It is increasingly rare to find visual flourishes such as these dual colour buttons:

Button detail on Fujitsu Arrows handset, showing brave colour choice

Many of Fujitsu’s Arrows series are waterproof. This one mixes white metals and plastics, deliberately revealing its construction to convey a sense of engineering solidity to the user. Telling a customer a device is waterproof is one thing, making them believe you and trust the brand enough to test that claim is quite another:

Construction deliberately on show in this waterproof Fujitsu Arrows handset

Fujitsu’s Windows Phone device is just for the Japanese market at the moment, but a brief search of user forums on the web reveals tremendous demand from international consumers to get their hands on this fluorescent device, complete with waterproofing and 13 megapixel camera. Whatever the internal marketing teams tell you, if you’re brave enough to build mobile devices in ludicrous colours, customers will reward you for it:

Fujitsu's Windows Phone in fluorescent yellow and pink

A thick rubber seal trumpets the device's waterproof credentials

The florescent detailing continues on the front face

I’m at a loss to understand why manufacturers continue to create pink, make-up themed devices for particular market segments, but there is something refreshingly insane about this Fujitsu design with it’s lipstick-style attachment, pink bow tie buttons and heart shaped camera. A welcome change from the sea of black uniformity:

Fujitsu handset with playful design touches

A navigator button shaped like a pink bow tie?

Fujitsu users might love the heart-shaped camera

Selling a device on its dimensions alone is rarely a recipe for success, but this member of the Arrows series is waterproof and incredibly light, measuring just over 6mm thick. It is also equipped with ‘Ultra Tough Guard’ an abrasion resistant coating designed to minimise the frustrating scuffing and scratching which occurs when device meets keys or coins in a user’s pocket.

Fujitsu Arrows handset at 6mm thick

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