A lot of the pitch at today’s Nokia Lumia event appeared to be more about lifestyle and fashion rather than the spec lists usually driving these presentations.
Nokia’s Kevin Shields presented the accessories for the new selection of phones and the presentation would not be amiss at a fashion show rather than a tech event.
Naturally, a visual highlight of the new Nokia range is the selection of colours. Rather than presenting the dark hues we may associate with portable tech (the exception being Apple’s minimalist white of course) the colour range from Nokia is eye-poppingly bright.
“We expand our colour story with yellow, lipstick red and ‘seductive’ grey,” says Shields. Seductive grey? The choice of words here sounds as though Nokia is aiming for a younger and possibly female audience.
Now, I’m not saying that all women prefer pink phones. Enough with that stereotype. But the selection of different colours does mean that users can think a little more creatively about what a phone is and how we use it. With this many colours, will the price point mean we could buy more than one?
Not necessarily. The Lumia 820 provides colour shells that can be swapped. There’s a broad range (including black for traditionalists) and a new colour described by Shields as ‘A gorgeous purple’. Happily, part of the new range of shells provides wireless changing too.
Certainly the focus on fashion and presentation shows a bit of a shift in the way we think about mobile technology. “Style and a little bit of panache. It begs to be picked up,” says Shields. “This is a phone that exudes confidence.” It sounds a bit like an advert for a suit or maybe a car.
The focus on style and colours from Nokia reflects the fact that most people are now carrying a portable device with them every day. It might as well be something appealing that others comment on as well as matching a personal sense of style.
These items now follow us around, sit on our desks and tables and are seen around the home. With the launch of NFC and wireless charging, the sense of life over tech also steps forward. Considering the amount of wires near my desk and bedside, I don’t remember seeing a nest of cables in the latest edition of ‘Swanky Apartments’ magazine. Being able to charge wirelessly gives more control to the user, rather than being controlled by the needs of your phone.
The mobile phone, as well as being a portable computer and a feat of technological wizardry in a tiny case, is also a lifestyle product. It’s social currency and a reflection of how you want to present yourself.
People choose their phones based on tech specs and the opinion of their peers. In Japan it has already been observed that brightly coloured handsets have an appeal to a younger market – one that may grow to be an older and loyal market if the technology inside is also consistent.
If mobile computing and telephony becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, it is likely that fashion and style are going to take center stage in future presentations. Maybe it is time the West caught up with the colourful ways of the East.
Read next: Hands-on with Nokia's new Lumia 820 [Photos]