Home opinion-and-analysis ShawThing Samsung to turn science fiction into science fact

You may have noticed subtle design changes to Samsung’s note 3 and tablet. The plastic era may soon be over.

Apple may have style guru Sir Jony Ive, but Samsung has Dennis Miloseski, head of its year old Design America studio in San Francisco - he wants it known that Samsung is abandoning its equipment manufacturer roots and “approaching problems very differently and very much in a [Silicon] Valley-minded approach” he said.

Miloseski has an impressive resume – more than 15 years working for clients like GE, Google, Sony, and Casio. He now has responsibility for Samsung’s mobile, personal computing, living room, digital appliance, and emerging product categories.

Its work has not yet been widely seen but some will emerge in 2014 – predominately in the wearable space. Importantly Design America is not concerned so much with looks or ascetics but questioning, for example, what is the future of mobile “taking a step back and looking at behaviour and how people are starting to interface with their mobile devices,” he said.

The design team has members experienced in user interface design, industrial design, and engineering. Its brief is ‘to do something interesting.’

Despite pleas to show off some of its concepts, Miloseski could only give generalities.

Mobile will migrate to wearable with different interfaces including eye gestures and haptic. “Mobile is not about larger screens and more glass and plastic but what it means across a range of companion devices,” he said.

He mentioned that the design of the Note 3 was driven be a deep user research and ethnographic analysis. It led to the realisation that Asian users needed to input text and glyphs in a more natural manner - where US buyers consider it more of a large phone.

“How do you actually make somebody’s life better? These devices become a part of us and we talked about Samsung becoming more of a lifestyle brand. A lifestyle product is one that is part of you; it’s a part of your identity, it’s who you are, it’s when you reach in your pocket and that device isn’t there that you feel that you’re not whole. Because it enables you to communicate with your world, the ones that you love and it makes you feel connected to the things that are important to you. Now, we use our mobile devices as ways to stay connected and also to capture moments and be creative but we are also looking into these other spaces and how these devices and how these products actually enrich how you live your life,” he said.

Part of the future is the way science fiction writers envisaged it. Touch a Star Trek badge to communicate is more intuitive than taking out a phone out of your pocket, unlocking it and so on.

"'Make it meaningful' goes deeper than a design slogan. Our goal is to bring products to the world that move beyond hardware. It's about making them beautiful and intuitive," he said.

Here are a few concepts I hope we see.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

 

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