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Sero

A circular concept phone with custom UI - Sero OS1.

Winning of the Young Mobile Phone Designer of the Year Award 2014.

Winning entry of the ‘Young Mobile Phone Designer of the Year Award’ 2014.

Brief

The brief was created to try and answer the question: What will mobile phones look like in 5 years time?

Other points to consider included:

  • What innovative features the mobile phone has and how this will improve style/functionality of the handset?
  • Why you think your phone would stand out?
  • What inspired you to create your design?

Approach

I began by conducting research into the past hardware design of mobile phones, existing offerings and other concept phones.

Where is the innovation in rectangular slabbed handsets?

Where is the innovation in rectangular slabbed handsets?

The most striking issue that was realised during the initial market research was just how similar existing smartphones look. It was therefore of the upmost importance that my concept was aesthetically refreshing in order to differentiate itself in an otherwise saturated market.

I also explored the idea of developing concepts based purely around three different areas:

  1. Social issues: What social issues are there surrounding mobile phones? What common complaints can be addressed through better, more considered hardware design and features?
  2. Multimedia: Can inspiration be gained from the feature phones of days gone by? The Nokia N-Gage that focused on fusing mobile with gaming for example. How are we going to make calls in the future? How is the digital distribution of content affecting the way we consume media?
  3. Materials/Technology: How can we use new material breakthroughs such as Graphene in the mobile electronic space? Flexible OLED displays and biometric technology are areas that were explored and researched.

After generating those ideas, I then began to cherry pick the strongest design elements from each group before merging them into one handset and form factor.

Sketches

CURVED SOCIAL1MULTIMEDIA

By combining the ideas from the three areas, I then developed the idea of a circular phone originally inspired by the yo-yo.

developThis form factor was then combined with other features such as: modularity, biometric technology and unibody construction to increase the products durability to minimise replacement handsets being bought as a result of poor construction.procam propower

The circular design also enables users to wrap their headphones around the centre to abolish the very common complaint of tangled headphones after storing them away in pockets, bags etc.

Branding

The branding for the handset was inspired by it’s form. Due to the round shape, the main idea that stuck initially was ‘Zero’ and other pronunciations of the word including: Sero, Siro, Xiro.

I wanted the font to be thin and modern and after some exploration and mock-ups that can be seen below, I decided on using the Hasteristico font. This was also used within the UI of the handset to help unify the overall product.

LOGO DEVELOPMENT 1

As I had many variations of the name and logo, I presented my existing ideas to peers and despite ‘Zero’ being the most popular, I simply could not overcome my own unease at how geometric the ‘Z’ and ‘R’ appeared. I wanted the logo to be softer so that it would not clash with the organic nature of the handset itself.

Therefore, the name was changed to ‘Sero’ (pronounced ‘See-Ro’) as the curves of the ‘S’ helped soften the angular ‘R’ of the font.

LOGO DEVELOPMENT 2

The orientation of the three blue lines were also changed to better reflect how the phone would look when being presented (vertically as opposed to lying horizontal). By changing the lines, I felt the logo better reflected the hardware.

Sero

Introducing Sero with OS1 – where industrial hardware meets functional software. It is a concept phone that can be adapted to your individual needs with your most used icons growing the more you use them. Easily upgrade your handset via the quick-release button on the bottom of the device. The available add-ons are:

ProCam – offers class-leading optics and a 4-in-1 camera lens functionality to suit any aspiring mobile photographer in any situation.

ProSound – redefines the mobile music experience by offering the best sound reproduction on a mobile phone. Listen, share and enjoy your favourite tracks the way they were meant to be heard.

Summary

This was one my favourite projects undertaken whilst being at University as it provided an opportunity to design in an area where I am extremely passionate about – mobile electronics.

Despite the brief only asking for the design of the phones hardware, I strongly believed that the software would need to be designed too in order to properly convey the product. User-Interface design is another passion of mine, so undertaking the extra work was a pleasure.

The design and making of the visual prototype can be viewed by clicking here.