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Why is colour and good design only allowed on Windows phones?


This weeks release of the first five Windows 8 phones was quite striking for me in one way, DESIGN. Take a look at the five phones in question:

Posted Image

Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820, Samsung Ativ S, HTC 8S, HTC 8X.


It actually looks like some thought and some love has been put into the devices. Well, not quite all of them as the Samsung looks terrible imho. It just looks like every other characterless Android phone... but Nokia and HTC have poured their hearts into the design of these devices. If it can be done on WP8, why can't HTC bring similar designs to Android?

Some might argue that its because WP8 needs something to differentiate itself from Apple and Android on the shelves. Its not just colour though, the actual design and aesthetics look like they've had some thought too.

Would you like a colourful Android device rather than another faceless black or white brick?

Has there ever been a really well designed Android phone? What has been your favourite?

About the author

Zarch1972's Photo
Zarch is a veteran gadgeteer who has owned everything from a Commodore VIC-20 to a HTC One and much of what came in-between.

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13 Comments

With so many Android phones being slated (and some being taken to court) for being "clones" of the iPhone, I think MS were keen to impress on manufacturers that WP8 phones should be DIFFERENT, and not just "Another OS on the same old phones", and I think they have done this really well.

Zeb
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At least Samsung tried something with the SIII in pebble blue but I do agree that many are pretty boring. It's one of the reasons I went for the Xperia S. The design isn't to everyone's tastes and it may only be black or white but the light bar and bottom bezel are pretty unique.

I think many manufacturers try to fill the front with screen and as little else as possible.
That said, I disagree on the Nokias. If you took the colour away (made it black or white) they'd be pretty generic looking too.
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orangesunny
Nov 02 2012 11:42 AM
I hope some day I'll buy nice design orange hi-end Android :) I've white One X, but orange? Would be nice!
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Andy_in_Indy
Nov 02 2012 01:21 PM
While I personally prefer a more understated color (Black, slate gray, Lincoln green or olive) for my phone, I have no issue with the Windows Phone devices' brighter colours. I think it does a good thing and makes them stand out, but it gives them an "unprofessional" look. More fun than serious.
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I'm not keen on the bright colours either. Besides, you need to take into account your personal choice of colour will limit it's saleablity in the future as it may not appeal to others. Personally, I think it's better for the vendor to sell the black/white phones, and let the buyer fit a coloured case to it. A generic colour will appeal to more people when it comes to selling it. Either that or bring back the switchable covers to personalise them like the old Nokias.
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Personally I think they look really naff! More gimmick than design substance... the Samsung is the only one to stand out because it dared to have slightly more rounded corners (eek). I'm with 3shirts on the Xperia S, very different and a brilliant phone to boot. Shove on a 'Barely There' case and you can have whatever colour you like.
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Ironic given that only the black and white 920 seem to be available at launch in uk.

Thought the htc windows phones were more of an evolving of their One X style than an entirely new direction too.

Rather like the design of the razr phones tbh. And the Nexus 4 seems nicely designed but want to see it for real before definitely calling it.

Not really feeling the playskool colours but more understated ones would be welcome. S3 red looks lovely

Good point about cases as many will be hidden away anyway. Believe the 820 does have the changeable covers but as they've included an induction charging one and different colour one looks to be £55 can't see many changing those.
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I'd certainly not want a phone that looks like it's made by Fisher-Price. The best looking Android phone I had so far was probably the Nexus S with its clean and curved front. But I have to agree: There probably hasn't been a truly beautiful Android phone so far :-(
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Cpw have the 820 back on website in erm black only
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BiggidyBoing
Nov 02 2012 02:54 PM
They need to stand out because they'll be so rare.

That 1 Windows phone within every crowd needs to draw as much attention to itself for Windows 8 to succeed. It's rather cunning.
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Anil K Solanki
Nov 04 2012 12:58 AM
"Would you like a colourful Android device rather than another faceless black or white brick?".

The bright yellow model will go great with your bright yellow Lamborghini, and bright yellow shell suit. All derision aside, this is clearly a case of, the picture frame being louder than the picture.

The whole point of a smart phone, is the "smart" bit. The OS. ANDROID has finally caught up with Apple's fit and finish with Jelly Bean. And in terms of features that help you. ANDROID is in the lead, Google's trio of NEXUS devices firmly cements the ANDROID OS as truly wonderful.

Microsoft have never shown any serious commitment to the importance of the user interface (UI). Historically they have produced a patchwork mess. The exception being XBOX. Their phone UI looks as bad as their handset's. Unless you are hard of seeing, then bright yellow, will be a god send.

Finally Zarch, I hear that SAMSUNG are producing a TV with a bright yellow bezel. Perfect for you, no?

Have fun. Anil
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I like cheap usable smart phones that are moddable and durable...

I used to have an iPhone3G... I did jailbreak it as soon as it was possible. Worked quite well at the time, the lack of changeable battery and no external memory storage bothered me quite a bit...

Within 2 months the wifi had broken, and had to take it back to the apple store... nice. Got a new one... the wifi was still iffy on the wifi router I had but at least it worked. then 3 years later the touch screen broke for no reason while I was using it... pulled it apart and saw the crappy design inside of push connectors that unplug themselves... put it back together and it worked again but for some mysterious reason the proximity sensor lo longer works... makes the phone useless. So apple is off my list of durable devices...

Then you have Nokia... they are legendary for making cheap phones with crap interfaces.... which is exactly what this new Microsoft OS is in my opinion pass... not only that it isn't moddable exactly like the iPhone, and Microsoft is known to drop support for their old operating systems/devices at the drop of a hat. No thanks... I don't care if they put a hello kitty on the back of the phone, I ain't going to buy it ever.

Then you have the android phones, cheap, usable, moddable and usually are supported for quite a while at least by the community. Well unless you buy the overpriced Samsung phones then they are not cheap... but at least you have choice.
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for what it is worth, I much prefer the "grown up" look of my Optimus 4X (I got the black one). Regardless of software etc (I have owned Windows phones and Android phones) I think the handsets in the leading pic of this article look childish and remind me somewhat of a certain Scandinavian construction toy. If you want to make your phone look more colourful, there is always the option of a nice cheery case.....
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