Tech addicts usually fall in two different camps—ones who crave all things new and advanced, and others who have a niche love for newfangled goodies of a specific type, whether it’s automobiles, bicycles, music gear, hiking apparel, etc. All seem enamoured by the shine of something newer/better/faster, yet the reasons why are interesting and varied.
Who doesn’t know someone (or many someones) who are completely jazzed by having access to the “future” now? These are the people who will consume copious amounts of caffeine in order to be ready when the midnight launch of Extreme Tech 2500 goes on sale. They are innately curious (often highly intelligent) individuals who have subscriptions to all the best trade magazines and tech sites. They are the friends to call when your latest iOS upgrade drives you to drink.
Others consider possession of the latest and greatest ‘whatever’ as tangible signs of success. Status symbols are as old as time—from cavemen with the nicest pelts to popular school girls with the most expensive jeans. Mobile phones are one of the few items that grab the hearts and minds of all tech-lovers. Not only do these little hand-held super computers put the world at one’s fingertips, they can also look really righteous doing it.
Many brands like Apple and Samsung deliver flagship models that beautifully blend function and style. Yet even if your mobile isn’t the snazziest on the block, fashionable phone accessories can turn your ‘beige’ smartphone into something bold. And based on the markup price and huge selection availability, phone accessories are big business.
Case styles run the gamut and have a variety of names, from ‘skins’ to ‘candy shell’. Feeling wild and a little dangerous? Let your leopard print mobile do the talking. Or maybe a futuristic high performance number is more your style? Those with the means can change cases as often as they wish, though it’s wise to remember that product lines are often phone-specific because many mobiles have different placements for cameras, speakers and buttons.
Funky phone cases are not only fun and expressive, they are also functional items that protect your investment. In addition, many warranty plans require users to have them so why not get something that shines?
The fact that the biggest designers in the world are creating signature mobiles proves fashion and phones make solid business sense. Apple brought Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve on board and Prada’s had an LG line since 2006. Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Armani—these fashion houses have all applied time and talent to making mobile phones sexy.
Endorsements from attractive celebrities aim to push sales, too. Actor Robert Downey, Jr. has been recruited to push HTC and singer Alicia Keyes has ties with Blackberry.
The Ripple Effect
Remember the first time you noticed jacket and trouser pockets made to fit iPods and mobiles? Yet the candybar made way for the flip-phone and so on. At one time the ‘best’ phone was the smallest, but current trends aim for creating bigger screens for the thinnest mobiles possible. Make no mistake that such changes will most certainly affect apparel and accessories, from handbag construction to cargo pockets to yes, leopard print cases.
Another side-effect of continued advancements in mobiles will be consumers’ unwillingness to make compromises. Now that mobiles are entrenched in daily lives the novelty has faded. With each trend, customers incrementally expect more. And in wanting more, few discerning shoppers will be willing to spend substantial coin for something that works beautifully but looks bad.
Even tech geeks who know more about their phones than most would care to will expect superior function to be merged with great style. The game is changing, where form and function are the new fashion—and all mobile makers would do well to take heed.