Flip phone concept aims to inspire creativity with Nokia, Nothing aesthetics

It may have been criticized for flooding the mobile phone market with dozens of confusing designs, but Nokia’s seemingly eccentric designs sometimes hit the right marks when it comes to uniqueness, aesthetics, or usability. From the XpressMusic to the N-Gage to the Communicator, there are times when those designs felt far ahead of their time, which didn’t do their sales any favors. There has been a great deal of interest in revisiting these designs, most of which, however, only make sense for non-smart feature phones like the ones HMD is offering. One particular design, however, might find a place in this modern world that’s obsessed with taking photos and recording videos, especially if it gets a little Nothing-inspired facelift.

Designer: Viet Doan Duc

Flip phones or clamshell designs are nothing new, even if the recent generation of foldable phones has given birth to their renaissance. The Nokia N90, however, did more than just open up in a stylish way to reveal a bigger screen and a large T9 keypad inside. It could also twist its top half so that you could hold it like a camcorder and feel more like a proper content creator. That was 20 years ago, even before the word “influencer” or even “YouTube” came to light. Now smartphones are pretty much pocketable cameras, and this concept design tries to give the Nokia N90 a second chance, with a bit of a twist.

The Nokia N90 design is obviously outdated by today’s standards, so this revision borrows some inspiration from Nothing’s now iconic translucent glass design. The concept focuses on three main concepts: mechanical precision, the spirit of exploration, and minimalist language. The mechanical aspect can be clearly seen from the smartphone’s industrial appearance, revealing details of precision circuity and clear edges. At the same time, however, it still manages to embrace minimalism by keeping the details down to the essentials, eschewing the noisy details that pervaded Nokia’s design language.

The Nokia N90 x Nothing concept is clearly a design that encourages exploration and creativity with its core design gimmick, turning the upper half around for a more immersive photography experience. Not only does it try to convey the feeling of using a camcorder, it also makes some difficult angles more feasible because of the degree of freedom the mechanism offers.

On the technical side, the dreams of some of the best hardware features that the mobile industry has to offer, and not just with the camera that’s installed on the phone’s hinge rather than its back. The physical keypad, for example, is replaced by an E Ink display that combines customizability and power efficiency, while a touch-sensitive D-Pad above it offers more precise control. All these, however, make the Nokia N90 x Nothing even more of a pipe dream, but the design itself is something that could definitely spark interest, and hopefully sales, among today’s generation of design-conscious creators.