Does it even matter what our phones look like anymore?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
When we look at a phone, we’re either immediately attracted to it or repulsed. There’s just something about the curves, edges, and display that can really make or break a phone, especially when it comes to personal opinion. Some people think the iPhone 4 is a brilliant piece of industrial design, while others think it’s a boring block. And then there are those out there who believe HTC has never made a phone that looks like a previously released device, while others will preach that every HTC-branded handset looks the same. Personal preference makes all the difference in the world, but in all actuality, does it even really matter what the phone looks like anymore?
Let’s start with HTC, shall we? We’ve already discussed whether or not HTC is still the king of Android, and that plays a big part of this article. Why? Because it’s that arguable position that may allow for the company to create devices that look similar, if not downright the same, as devices they’ve released in the past, without much of a hiccup. Does HTC release handsets that look like other phones, more specifically, other HTC-branded devices? Some would say yes, and others would say no. To the latter, they would suggest that if a phone does look similar, that’s only because there’s only so much you can do with a slate device, where the major part of the handset is the large (or small) touchscreen.
And that may be the truth, which is why I’m asking the aforementioned question. Considering that there’s only so much you really can do with a blank slab, is it all that surprising that it doesn’t look like it really matters anymore what the phone actually looks like? We are starting to care more about the specifications of the device, about what the device is made out of, rather than how the handset looks in our hands or put up against our faces. That aesthetic appeal was all the rage after the initial release of the iPhone, but since 2007 it seems to have died down. Perhaps that has something to do with the market being absolutely saturated in touchscreen devices, or maybe it’s just a product of the changing times.
We’ve seen other companies sue their competitors due to the fact they believe a product is similar to theirs, so it’s obviously a big deal to these companies. However, it doesn’t seem to be so much to the consumer. And actually, depending on the company we’re talking about, it may not matter much to them, either. I’m going to throw HTC’s name out here again, but only because the company has had two devices reportedly leaked into the wild recently, and it’s fresh in my mind. Specifically, the HTC Vigor was rumored to break cover on an international website, while the HTC Bliss was caught posing on someone’s desk, courtesy of Mr. Blurrycam. While we can’t get many details about either device, the similarities between the devices are pretty startling. Especially the bottom of both devices, which looks to be almost identical. Truthfully, it’s almost like the Vigor and Bliss are the same phone.
But we know they aren’t the same phone, not by a long-shot. So the fact they look so similar is just a nuisance. If someone wants to tell the difference between the HTC Vigor and HTC Bliss in the real world, there might be subtle differences on the handsets, but at first glance there doesn’t seem to be much of a differentiation. But, that could come down to the fact that HTC is running out of designs for a slab device where the main component is a touchscreen face.
But, again, does it matter? If a device like the Vigor looks exactly like the ThunderBolt but has all of the updated features an Android fan could ask for, does it matter if the devices look the same? I’m beginning to think it really doesn’t, and that’s not really all that bad of news. That means the manufacturers are probably aware of this as well, and will start putting even more high-end specifications in their devices, to make them stand out, especially if the aesthetics aren’t doing it anymore.
Some may argue that other companies like LG, Samsung, and even Motorola (I’d love to not count the DROID X and DROID X2, but we have to) are guilty of this same thing, and those folks would probably be right. As I said above, I’m only using HTC as an example due to the recently leaked handsets, which you can see pictured above. But, let me know in the comments below if you think it matters anymore what a handset looks like, or if you think it’s all about the statistics.