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I’m not sure is my colour.

For a few years now, phones have been Small enough to fit easily in a shirt Pocket. Funny, that. Because walk into most trendy bars and you’d never guess it: at many tables, each occupant will have placed his – sometimes her, but usually his – mobile in front of him, next to his lager. Among all-male groups, each table looks uncannily similar: three men, three pints,three phones. And there is more than practically at work here. Even those phones with vibrating alerts, which in a noisy bar can easily be felt in a pocket, are proudly paraded. The purpose of a modern mobile is to be seen, as well as heard.
The roots of mobile mania are technological; they have achieved their present ubiquity by being phenomenally useful gadgets. But for such a tiny, personalitem they have a high visibility – on pub tables, with designers snap-on covers, trilling intentionally irritating ringtones. In embracing them as a fashion accessory, we have lifted mobiles into the strata of fax machines and tumble dryers.
Once every decade or so, the marketing men and women hit perfect pitch with a product that tallies precisely with the cultural aspirations of the moment. Inthe 1980s, the trainer became a key cultural accessory: the means by which the owner pronounced his or herself to be au fait with the modern world. Trainers embodied a new post-nine-to-five culture which embraced elements as disparate as rave culture and gym culture. They achieved this broad-brush appeal by being rooted in practicality, and therefore hard to dismiss. The right pair of trainerssaud something about you, lent a little style-mag airbrushing to your public image, while masquerading as a no-nonsense piece of kit.
Nike air max were very comfortable, but they didn’t become a cult success at 100$ a throw just by getting you from A to B without sore feet. Likewise, the cult of the mobile phone has been fed as much by cultural association and design innovation as by practicality.The mobiles is the ultimate accessory for the Me generation. Just as Nike’s most famous slogan, Just Do It, glamorised the individual’s will and willpower, the mobile phone’s epitaph could be It’s For You – because with a mobile, it always is. After years of diminishing bulk, the mobile has settled around the size and weight of that other individual indulgence, a chocolate bar. A caller reachingyou via your home or work landline is identifying you with your family or company; even a car or a house may be a status symbol that you have to share. But a mobile phone is all about you.

What a mobile phone says is that you are too indispensable to the big, wide world to be allowed out of reach, but that you are “doing your own thing”. You are independent, yet in demand; busy, but not tieddown. In these days of competitive exhaustion, a ringing phone is both an albatross around the neck and a badge of honour. If the mobile has a predecessor in technology, it is the wristwatch, which spans the same territory between fashion accessory and a functional item. Having an outsize diving watch was precursor of having the newest, tiniest phone; the smart metallic phone cover has replaced thegold Rolex. Now that mobile phones display the time, wristwatches have been usurped in more ways than one.
As in all cultural phenomena, it’s important to keep ahead of the game. This is where design comes in. As recently as seven or eight years ago, simply having a mobile phone marked you out as an earlier adopter; as they have become more common, it has been increasingly important to have notjust any phone, but the right one. And in response, mobiles moved on in design more in the past 10 years the landline telephones have in the past 30.
Whereas most cult fashion accessories are must-haves only to a relatively small number of shopaholic women, and most cult techno toys of interest only to a small band of men, the mobile has found a broad catchment area. Builders, taxi, drivers,...
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