Why the move away from black and white?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: February 20, 2014

I was browsing new All New HTC One leaks today (it just sounds so ridiculous!) when it was shown that the phone may also come in gray and silver, as well as the previously leaked gold. In what looks like an attempt to follow Apple's footsteps with how they decided to color the iPhone 5s, I couldn't help but notice that both of these companies strayed away from the traditional black and white colors, the two colors that, for a long time, were the only two color choices for a smartphone.

It's something I probably should be celebrating, because at one point in my PhoneDog career I was calling for more companies to follow the likes of Nokia and start offering more vibrant or exciting colors in their lineups. But while I feel that a larger variety of colors offered in a smartphone is a good thing, I guess I didn't really expect companies to ditch the simple white and black color scheme altogether.

Again, this is solely basing things off of what we know from leaks thus far, so there very well could be a black or white All New HTC One in the works somewhere, these other neutral colored versions are the first to surface. Personally, I find it kind of silly that they're offering a gray and a silver - a silver one, yes, the original HTC One looked really good in silver, but I find gray to be pretty much the same thing... except more dull. The HTC One also looked pretty darn good in black. The iPhone 5 also looked really good in black, so I was pretty surprised that Apple decided to go with Space Gray instead of black for the iPhone 5s. There was also a mysteriously missing black iPhone 5c as well, but both versions offered a white. Still, what's wrong with black lately? 

I can see where black and white might get boring after a while, but both colors are still considered neutrals and are generally considered good for people who use cases on their phones as it allows them to switch freely from color to color as they see fit and never encounter a clash in colors. As for gold? Have you tried putting neon green next to gold and think, "Wow, that looks really good!"? If you have, then... well, to each their own, but for most people it's pretty much an eyesore. That's not to say that gold shouldn't be offered as an option for people who want it, but I don't feel that black and white should be taken out of the equation for it. Silver and gray are nice alternatives, but it's just not the same as solid black. It's kind of like how people like AMOLED displays for how dark the black pixels show up - it almost looks like it blends right in with black hardware if you happen to have it. 

I wouldn't not get a device because it only comes in certain colors, but I do think that along with offering new colors companies should still offer the traditional black and white. It's the extreme on both sides of the spectrum, and a lot of people like it that way. At the very least, offering one or the other would suffice. I do hope that the All New HTC One will offer more than just the three already leaked colors. 

I think that's one reason why I like the Moto X so much lately. Their Moto Maker is a really nice tool that I've tinkered with once or twice, and there are a lot of options to choose from. You can make the phone as bright or as neutral as you want, and even customize it further with signatures and greetings before you even get the phone. I'm not sure if we will ever see another phone come out with something like Moto Maker again, but it would be pretty awesome if they did. It really was pretty cool knowing that you could make this device under your own guidance. From the big picture, it would seem the colors are limited - but considering what we have to work with now (only being able to choose what colors manufacturers preset for us) it's a big leap forward in smartphone customization on a level deeper than cases. 

The odd nixing of black and white doesn't really seem to be that widespread as of right now, but it is sort of interesting that both Apple and HTC are looking to head that direction. I just kind of hope it doesn't catch on. 

Readers, are you more interested in phones with colors other than black and white, or do you prefer the same old same old? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via @evleaks, iMore

Products mentioned