Marko Ahtisaari on handset design at LeWeb’10

Interesting presentation by Nokia industrial design supremo Marko Ahtisaari at the recent LeWeb conference. This video has been used by the likes of Robert Scoble to claim that Nokia is doomed. But what I really found interesting about it was the wide view that Marko provides on phone user interface design.

I would welcome a less immersive phone experience like that described by Marko. It mirrors the kind of human-machine interface philosophy that defence contractors looked at from the 1960s onwards, not that a head-up display is necessarily mobile device friendly.

I would like a Nokia Communicator form-factor, which had an immersive interface inside the clam-shell (complete with a superior keyboard to the subsequent E7, N8 and N900) and a more traditional ‘unimmersive’ interface on the outside. The smartphone or mobile computing device nomenclature hides essentially two modes: one of which is the mobile communicator; more than the mobile phone that we are familar with but of a similarly unobtrusive design ‘pattern’ as Marko would put it. The second pattern is a ‘good enough’ personal computer, a general machine with more options opened up to us because of its mobile rather than static context.

I would also want the quality of the software on iOS like an address book that works and seamless synchronisation with my other devices. Given the obsession with touchscreens this is likely to be a vain hope.