Nokia’s decided to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Research Center by releasing a concept video for a device that they’re calling GEM. It’s a phone that’s basically all screen. The whole thing. There is no bezel, no metal, no plastic, the whole handset is a touch screen surface. The Finnish handset maker thinks that when you’re on a phone call – which by the way takes place in the future exactly the same way it does now, by placing a brick up to your head – the back of your device will show advertisements. The GEM will also take skins to a whole new level since you’ll be able o take a photo of a texture and apply it to the surface of your device. Never mind the battery life issues, the bendable display issues, the reception issues, and the list goes on and on.
There are two theories on concept videos such as the ones Nokia and often other technology companies make. The companies who make such videos are either incapable of being innovative enough to bring their ideas to reality, or their idyllic view of the future is one that everyone should embrace and strive to reach. We tend to believe in the former. If you have a good idea, then shut up and make it work. If you can’t make it work, then shut up and wait until science catches up with your imagination and you can bring your ideas to reality. Think of the car industry for example. Their concept cars never, ever, become production models. They’re made to grab attention at autoshows, that and hot girls wearing little to no clothing. It’s a car company’s racing division that actually has the money to invest in new technology that goes out and creates the stuff that will eventually trickle down into sub $20,000 cars that normal people can afford.
This 600 EUR cap that everyone uses when making high end smartphones needs to disappear and we need to see handset makers put best of breed components into devices that go for over 1000 EUR, pushing the boundaries of what’s capable. They’re not going to ship in volume, but they’ll show off what the future is capable of delivering better than a dinky animated movie.