Just when you thought digital touchscreen technology had taken over modern mobile phone design, along comes Japan's KDDI to tick us off all over again. This look back to the future appeared at the recent Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile and highlights the enlarged bezel of a a new IIDA smartphone.
Oddly enough, the retro feature in question (a small analog clock) is being reframed as a prestige focal point instead of what it really is: a borderline archaic method of time-telling that first became trendy back when steam locomotives were considered high-speed transportation. It's also cute, and makes a great conversation starter... you can even time the conversation the old-fashioned way.
The so-called “Tick Talk” (OK, I made that up) was conceived for KDDI by up-and-coming Spanish designer Jaime Hayon. According to KDDI, “the design is intended to bring a short moment of luxury to our busy lives as opposed to acting like a simple tool.”
Befitting the phone's claims to real-world practicality and a potential production run, KDDI has fitted it out with a slip-proof rubber strip that encircles the handset's case and a complementary circular hole in the bezel's upper right to balance out the clock on the left. The hole is also a practical feature: it can be used to secure the phone via a belt loop or carabiner, or to attach from one to ten phone strap charms as is the habit among young Japanese fashionable types.
Will this retro-futuristic smartphone ever see the light of store shelves? It may be only a matter of time. Gentlemen, synchronize your watches, er, cellphones! (via Asiajin, The Verge, and Doublemesh)