Puma Phone is star of show
After 18 months of design and development "The Puma Phone" was finally powered up this week at "Mobile World Congress" in Barcelona. GBH designed the entire user interface from scratch and worked with Sagem Wireless to make the phone a reality. The design process was one of the longest single projects ever for GBH and at one point last year over 250 individuals around the world were working on making our designs come to life. As well as the interface and all the applications GBH designed the packaging, the user guides and the viral campaign for launch.
Building a device in the shadow of "that other phone" was a daunting task but we have managed to create the most charming and friendly mobile device on the market as well as introducing some unique technical features such as solar power along the way. Everything about this phone is different, from the way it looks and talks to you to the way it's powered and packaged in an eco-friendly way.
The Puma Phone is designed for a young and active customer but the phone has also been a big hit with industry analysts and technology boffins too. Mobile World Congress is a highly technical and corporate affair with every single manufacturer showing their very best products. By playing our own game the Puma Phone stood out as a true innovation, not necessarily technical innovation but something more like "personality innovation".
What are they saying?
CNET picked it as the "Best of Show". Ben Wood and the Head of User Experience at Nokia called it a "Category Breaker". Wired magazine chose the handset as its "Star of Show" and BBC 24 explained that an hour of solar charging would give 17 minutes of talk time (before pointing out it was raining in Barcelona!)
Puma Phone: What's it like?
It will be surprising. Nothing on the Puma phone is standard. Puma's wit and charm is everywhere in the brand new interface. This is definitely not just a logo stuck on the case.
Puma is a "Sportslifestyle" company. They want us to be more active in our daily lives but they don't take themselves too seriously. The phone has been designed with this in mind. The phone has a "Sporty Side" and "A Playful Side" and in line with Puma's philosophy on sustainability the phone boasts one of the world's first solar panels on a mobile phone.
When it comes to the design of the phone interface, the philosophy was to demystify and make simple the often over technical or over "flashy" world that is mobile phone interface design. We wanted, more than anything, to make a device that would engage you emotionally, something that could actually charm you by the way it worked. We did this by thinking of the device as a character, we wanted the device to "talk" to you like a friend not like an appliance. This meant we looked at every level of communication on the device with fresh eyes. Some of these changes are very subtle, some are quite profound. The maxim of "little things can make a big difference" was used over and over during development. Check out the "The Technical Stuff" at the end for a full run down on the features, but for now, a few examples of the way this thinking appears in the final product are as follows:
It looks simple, but it's very smart
Tiny text is banished on the interface. We made everything as chunky and "analogue" as we could in line with the Puma brand feeling. We use only the red and white colors of Puma or there's an option of just black and white to further reinforce the less is more feeling we were after. We want everything that's there to be there for a reason. Not because "that's what the others do" or "that's how it's always been done". Fewer things done better.
It talks quite nicely
Some phones say things like "To prevent possible data loss Recharge or replace your battery according to owner's manual". The Puma Phone says "Get me to a charger I can't go on much longer". Instead of saying "Attempting data connection" it will more likely say "Hang on a second" and when you press send big type playfully flashes "It's going", "It's going" and then finally "It's gone".
It's got Dylan inside
Dylan is a real puma who lives, plays and sleeps in your phone. He is your phone guardian and friend. You will see him on start-up and sleep. Call him up any other time by pressing on the "Dylan on demand" button.
The Red Carpet & other stories
The Puma Phone hides all the global and specific settings in one place. If you want to change anything simply go to the bottom right of any screen and lift up "the carpet" to find all the options you will need. Everything under here is text only and ordered; it's the German side of Puma's DNA! and it keeps "technical stuff" distinct from everything else. Having said that even the boring stuff isn't dull; go to brightness setting and alter intensity by pushing a cloud across the sun!
The Puma Phone uses text or icons to navigate the phone. Never both. Something the industry seems particularly resistant to! The favourites screen is your home screen. Put whatever you use or love the most here. From 6 down to just one or two icons can be configured here. Keep it simple–and they change size.
The Puma Phone converts your mp3 files back to vinyl. Spin and scratch as individual records. Enough said, you already know how it works!
The Puma Phone adds richness to texting by allowing access to a library of 100 custom designed icons giving help and advice to your friends. These attach to your message via a seamless carousel.
Matching sports equipment
A full set of "analogue" sports applications come built in to the Sporty Side of the phone. There's a simple old-school stopwatch, a run tracker and pedometer that looks like a running-machine display, a speedo for a bike and a gorgeous yachting compass in case you get lost at sea
The phone is available to buy at the start of April in five european countries. From phone shops and Puma Stores. Keep track of the launch and see the phone working on the Puma Phone website.
The Technical Stuff
Integrated solar cell with charge indicator/ On-demand digital cat/ Name: Dylan, Size: 2.4 m x 0.8m, Weight: 81 kg/ A sporty side: Matching set of PUMA sports equipment: Analogue stopwatch/ GPS run tracker/ GPS bike speedo/ Pedometer/ Yachting compass./ A playful side: applications with added charm, Icon messaging/ Sarcastic calculator/ Scratching turntable/ Easy peasy video calls/ Tells it like it is/ Shiny chrome logo that is also a speaker/ 2.8” full touch screen tablet/ Video chat with front camera/ Music player/ FM radio/ Video recorder/ Open internet browser/ 3.2 megapixel camera/ LED flash/ Location on map/ Geotagging/ AGPS: Whatever that is.
The really Geeky Stuff
Dimension 102 x 56 x 13 mm, Weight 115g, Resolution 240 x 320, TFT Screen, wide viewing angle, Motion sensor with auto display rotation, Standby time (DG.09)350h, Talk time (DG.09) 3G mode: 4h, 2G mode: 5h/ HSUPA Cat. 4 (up to 2.9 Mbps)/ HSDPA Cat. 8 (up to 7.2 Mbps)/ Bluetooth 2.1 EDR/ Computer software/ USB cable & charger/ Memory card microSD/ Headset with 3.5 mm audio jack/ Battery/ Li-Ion 880 mAh/ Eco friendly Box.