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November 10, 2008

Building Your Own Phone From the Outside-In

by Darla Mack

As I was typing the post prior to this the thought came to me... why not create a service where users could create or build their own device.  I mean consumers do it every day when purchasing computers, right?

In my theory, this is how it would work...

Consumers could chose their housing (lol not so much the color for those of you who were expecting me to scream pink)... but more so customization... isn't that one of the features that made people fall in love with Nokia years ago?   Being a make-up artist for a few years I've learned that everything starts with a shell and you customize around it.  Cars, wardrobes, computers, houses... why not phones!

Consumers would pick their shells, select a comfortable keypad, chose a screen size and function (ie: touch or standard) and add their splash of color or customization.  For example, to return back to the 3395/3390 I remember when T-Mobile first offered the 3390.  Customers were able to pick photos or their own for the housing at an extra price.  OPTIONS OPTIONS OPTIONS!!!

We have seen devices come with or without cameras, ie: the E50.  Not everyone needs a camera on their device and it ends up being just an added extra in price that doesn't get used to the advantage that the manufacturer would like.  So let the consumer decide!

2 options are also available.  Series 40 and of course S60.  Imagine having the same shell type for both systems.  Therefore no one would lack a comfort level.

Features are important.  Bring back IR!!!  Some users live for that!!  I myself hardly use it, but when the time comes that I would like to have it, it's been removed. 

Then finally, selecting the services that you want.  Not everyone uses Mobile Email... don't ask me why, but it is a consumer choice not to do so.  Also, many users who have access to the mobile web don't use it.  Mostly because they have no need for it.  My neighbors have had their cell phone service for years and have never accessed the mobile web... even though it is there and is available to them.  Same thing with my in-laws... they have no need for it.  So if users have no need for it, why force it on them?

Now would this take away credit and such from a manufacturer's design team?  Actually it wouldn't.  It's your idea and creation in the hands of someone that can bring it to fruition.  Would it be costly?  Yeah, I suppose it would... but then again it was just an idea that was floating around in my mind.  Would Nokia possibly consider it in the future?  I don't see why not!  I've seen many of my ideas that have gone from my mind to my blog to the users across the world... not taking credit for it, but it seems that many others around the world thought of the same great concept and it finally happened.  (think back to the rants for a universal PC suite).

Not everything in my mind makes sense to all... but just imagine it... would you want to utilize a service like that to get your perfect device?


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I think it's a great idea...

I really loved the N82, but it wasn't US3G, I wasn't that big a fan of the E71, but the camera pushed me away, what if the E71 had a better camera... some might want it, some might not...

what if the option was also there for battery power, and xenon or led for the flash...

Great idea!


Now THAT would be wonderful Darla. It would bring a whole new dimension, and a whole lot more fans to Nokia. And an added piece du resistance would be enabling users to return the phones (and get new ones for a lower list price) when they are tired of them, and enabling Nokia to recycle parts of the returned phones into other devices.


Hi Darla,

Great idea but my reservations as below:

1) It would make device support a nightmare.

2) It will mean the phones would not be available off the shelf and would cost more because the customization costs would come in.

3) If users start getting the device and service that "they" need and not the Manufacturer or Service provider want to force on them, there would be less reasons for them to buy a new device unless the device breaks off or is lost or maybe a groundbreaking new device comes up. That becomes a win-loose situation favoring users against manufacturer/service providers. Whats the need to do such a business.




There could always be a "Base" model that would be for general release--there are two iPhones (original and 3G). Apple supports both. The issue would be to have a limited number of internal changes that would affect support.

Very doable--look at cars, stereos, digital cameras--these markets are "saturated" with products that differ in minute was from the next model. Yet, all are supported.

Cost is, I think, the issue. How would this be done? Parts that plug or are we talking custom, computerized assembly with soldering? Is it cost effective to put this assembly together based on the life of the device? I doubt it unless it can be modified to adapt to the next product(s) coming out of the pipe...

Great idea though. I could finally get a

4" capacitive screen (at least 640 X 480);
GPS with aGPS;
wi-fi, bluetooth, 3G, EDGE, IR, WIMAX (what else could I add?):
camera (at least 3.2MP) that also records...video;
FM radio...;

Of course, OS of choice is always nice...

Sell the idea to anyone yet? :P

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