Around the year 2000, when the folding "clamshell" style of mobile phone was about to become the norm for phone design, we began to hear many complaints that all the phones looked the same, and that people wanted a phone with a more advanced design. The au design project traces its origins to our movement to answer these requests.
In May 2001, just as an auto manufacturer introduces beautiful concept cars to the public, we unveiled three concept phones: info.bar, rotary, and wearable. These were our experiments in reconsidering the mobile phone from the perspective of its design, to search for the truly unique and attractive phone that people really wanted and were subconsciously creating in their minds. We received many requests to make these widely-praised prototypes available as actual products, leading to the October 2003 launch of the INFOBAR, which was largely based on the info.bar design. Since then, the au design project has become a trailblazer, introducing one revolutionary prototype and product after another and having a tremendous impact on trends in mobile phone design.
Through this project, we will continue to bring excitement and inspiration to people's everyday lives through our revolutionary phone designs that are infused with new concepts and new ideas.
MEDIA SKIN, the sixth product from the au design project, is based on a prototype that was first presented in November 2005. Created by Tokujin Yoshioka, a designer whose experimental works span across a wide variety of fields, its true charm lies in its feel. We used surface treatment and special paint to create two entirely different textures. The orange and white models feature paint made with silicon particles, like those used in cosmetic foundations, for smooth comfort, while the black is made with a soft-feel paint that includes special urethane particles to provide a relaxed comfort. The flip-style cover over the keypad not only contributes to the simple elegance and comfortable feel of the MEDIA SKIN, it also adds the convenience of being able to answer and end phone calls with a simple flipping motion.
DESIGNER: TOKUJIN YOSHIOKA
The first INFOBAR was released in October 2003, as the first model in the au design project. It has had a major influence on subsequent mobile phone design. The INFOBAR 2, while inheriting the attractiveness and ease of use of the INFOBAR, has evolved into a shape like a square candy melting in the mouth, and features the latest capabilities such as the television One-Seg and the electronic wallet Osaifu Keitai.
The innovative INFOBAR features a distinctive shape, as if rectangular candy began melting and became slightly rounded in the mouth, which is an organic and natural change. The shape, therefore, fits perfectly in one’s hands and goes smoothly into a pocket. The evolution of INFOBAR is synchronous with a gradual change of machines taking on the characteristic of human roundness. The smooth and lustrous single surface of INFOBAR has operation keys of various colors and a display screen, all of which are elegantly placed in harmony with each other.
INFOBAR has a newly established style that differs from that of other mobile phones. It is now a regular bar-type information device loved by people thanks to its easy operation and excellent portability.
INFOBAR 2 has all new functionality and maintains the much-loved style of the original. (Naoto Fukasawa)
DESIGNER: NAOTO FUKASAWA