A few years ago, I think we all accepted the fact that smartphone design was going down the same route. Every manufacturer, even as they started to play with the size of our displays, was focusing on the same design cue: touchscreen. Everything else took a backseat as the part of the phone we use the most, the part we stare at the most, became our focal point. While the Galaxy S5 and One M8 may not look all that much alike when you get down to the details, there's no changing the fact that at the most basic level, it's still just a large slab of a device.
Don't get me wrong, designers out there have still managed to make some of these devices really stand out. Nokia and HTC, and most recently Motorola, have done what they can to throw some color on the handsets that had been swallowed up by blacks and whites. And even as we have to survive this movement to include gold phones everywhere, color is still one tentpole that we can cling to in hopes of really differentiating our devices.
Color is one thing, and it's certainly not a new idea in the mobile industry, but I'd still like some really interesting, stand-out physical designs for our phones. I feel like we're right on the cusp of seeing that reality fall into place, but it's just not here yet. LG and Samsung gave us our introduction to curved displays with the G Flex and Galaxy Round (but so far it's the Gear Fit that's really won over anyone wanting to try out a curved display), and we know that there's going to be sequels down the road. Moreover, other companies will take a shot at the designs, too. Rumors are still churning out of the Rumor Mill that the next Galaxy Note "phablet" could boast some kind of curved display.
So, we're right there. We can almost see it over the edge of the mountain we've been climbing for years. We're just not there yet. Not. Quite. Yet.
LG also has the G2, with the buttons on the back, which is a striking change from what we've grown accustomed to over the years. We've seen plenty of leaks that suggest their next iteration, the G3, will have the same button layout as its predecessor, so apparently that's something that LG believes is working. I'm a fan of the thinking out of the box here, and I'm still waiting to see other manufacturers follow suit.
And then I see something like the Samsung G9098. Not only does this device just bring me back to the good ol' days, where phones just had ridiculous number schemes (instead of ridiculous names), but it reminds me that the old flip-phone is still alive and seeing some improvements along the way. Here in the United States, the flip-phone has all but died out, with only a few stalwarts out there. We've seen the majority move to those big slabs of devices, with the touchscreen the only interesting part of the device. BlackBerry's still got a death grip on the physical keyboard, so they may be the Missing Link -- the true connection to the world we've essentially left behind.
The G9098 isn't a bad device. In fact, it's got the internals of a pretty beefy mid-range handset. The camera's a 13MP shooter on the back, and there's a 2-megapixel camera on the front. But what really makes it stand out? The pair of 3.67-inch touchscreens. One on the outside and one on the inside, like a more traditional device, from way back when.
The scary truth is, there's a strong possibility that this type of device, with this design, would have been the "go between" design from what we used to know, to what we have now, if Apple's iPhone hadn't dropped in and changed everything. But, here we are in 2014, with a pretty powerful device all tucked nicely into a flip-phone form factor, and I can't help but wonder: could this device find a market here in the United States?
So, let me know what you think. Could Samsung launch the G9098 (which would obviously pick up some kind of strange name for a State-side launch) here in the United States and find any kind of success at all? Even sustainability? Let me know what you think!