Fashion is the Feature: Cell Phone Manufacturers Prize Shine in 2007
Though LG and Samsung have both debuted “TV phones,” handsets which are able to deliver a live television feed of about a dozen popular channels through Verizon’s new V Cast Mobile TV service, most of the new cellphones on display at CES this year are, essentially, fashion statements. “It’s all about look,” says LG’s Melissa Elkins. “We’re even seeing changeable face plates making a comeback. Design and color are very important to consumers right now.”
Vacuum polished metal, an uber-reflective silver surface reminiscent of the stainless steel finish so popular in high end kitchen appliances, is the color of choice for many new models, making “shine” the new black. Form factors continue to be Razr-thin, facilitated by the widespread adoption of microSD, memory cards as tiny as a pinky fingernail. Slider-style phones are increasingly popular, evidenced by Motorola’s shiny new offering, the Rizr (pronounced “Rizer”).
Phone manufacturers are unanimous in their support of including MP3 capabilities and increasingly advanced cameras in all new phones. That means almost every debut handset is a “music phone” with a 1.3 megapixel (or better) digital camera. Motorola’s Ryan Seick says the trend internationally is actually toward 2-camera phones, with one lens pointing back at the user, enabling live video-conferencing.