Hello Fans, This is Part 2 of the Indian Express interview with Miika Mahonen, Principal Designer, HMD Global.
This is Part 2 of the Indian Express interview with Miika Mahonen, Principal Designer, HMD Global. (Click this to read part 1.)
Here, Miika talks about form factors, innovation and the megapixel wars.
Image: Miika Mahonen, Principal Designer, HMD Global, poses with Nokia smartphone consumers at the Let's Talk Design event in India.
Do you follow the design trends that your competitors are following?
When I talk about design trends, there are two sides to it. Some design trends are more about aesthetics and then there are design trends that are about user experience. Design trends have a side where it is a lot about aesthetics like fashion, colors, materials, etc. And then there’s also a lot of design trends of how the user experience itself is developed. So we do follow things and we incorporate and take inspiration from the best things, but at the same time, we stick to what is our own vision.
A lot of innovation is happening in and around the display. Some manufacturers are going with a 120Hz display, while others are using the waterfall displays to take the concept of curved screens to the next level. What do you have to say?
For us, the most important thing is whether the technology is mature enough that we can guarantee quality for the consumer. For waterfall displays and some phones being launched hasn’t been necessarily that straightforward how it’s been working. So any new technology that we will bring or incorporate in our designs…we bring it at a point where we are a hundred percent sure that we can guarantee the quality and the functionalism of the product. We don’t want to risk our products having any issues.
Foldable phones have finally arrived, though at present there are a lot of technical challenges that still persist. Is HMD Global looking at this space?
Visual information is very important and that’s why the display technology is so important. We are working on how we can come up with the second generation and how we can improve the visual technology but I cannot reveal too much. But I can tell you that we are doing a lot of future concepts right now in different areas and that’s something I can say for sure.
Well, if you look at a bigger scale, the trend is more about simplification and optimization of these products, right? We are driving away from having this portable computer into our comfortable design that supports your actions in everyday life. That’s a big trend and that’s something we are looking at. That’s why even in the industrial design, we are coming up with solutions to make it more comfortable, more simplified, improve the quality and improve usability.
The Nokia quality and durability is still very much our essential driver. And those values go really well together with minimal Nordic design. And this is what we are developing now. Anything that’s not needed is not there.
Designing and manufacturing foldable phones isn’t easy. As a designer, do you think foldable phones are the future of smartphones?
Look, this is the basic law of physics. When something changes, for example, this material bands, there will always be certain a source of difficulties or challenges. Will the foldable phone be a definite thing in the future? Maybe not. Maybe there will be other solutions as well that can improve the visual experience besides foldable displays.
Why haven’t the megapixel wars ended, and why are smartphone manufacturers once again talking about a high megapixel camera?
The megapixel races are definitely ongoing, but I would say that for us (HMD Global) as a company, we are really developing our internal resources to improve experience and software design when it comes to cameras. The camera part is really important for us to and for example, our collaboration with Carl Zeiss. So we are really putting a big effort internally to develop these resources and teams so we can keep improving our camera experience through all the new models that we are releasing.
Reports suggest that HMD Global’s next flagship will drop the ‘PureView’ branding? Is it true?
Sorry, I cannot answer your question.
As a designer, how do you assess the current-generation of Nokia phones?
I think we have made good progress. I would say that we are really discovering our own identity in a way, but we don’t want to fully follow what our competitors are doing. We want to tap Nordic premium design that’s known for simplicity and long-lasting timelessness. That’s our key factor and that’s something we will continue to pursue. Like, we want to design devices that look great next year and look great even after 10 years.