Nokia’s Visionary Wants to Out-Design Apple

Steven Levy in Wired:

ScreenHunter_01 Sep. 09 13.26Marko Ahtisaari spreads out several models of Nokia’s new smartphone with the self-assurance of a Tiffany diamond salesman. It is several weeks before the launch of Nokia’s Lumia 920 — the flagship phone for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform, a crucial product for both companies — and the head of Nokia design has come to New York City to reveal his wares in advance of today’s glitzy event.

There they are, shiny colored polymer bars fronted by bold 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass screens. Good looking, to be sure. Ahtisaari, who heads Nokia’s design studio, picks up a canary yellow one. Others are black, gloss red and matte gray. His face is all business, but his fingertips caress the surface like a lover’s.

“Our products are human,” he says. “They’re natural. They’re never cold. That’s partly driven by color, but also partly how they feel in the hand. This looks less like a product coming off a production line in a factory — though it does—than a product that might have grown on a tree. The grandest way I could put it, is post-industrial.”

More here. [Disclosure: Marko is an old friend of mine from Columbia University where we studied philosophy together. He got me started in blogging in 2002, when I had never even heard of blogs, by inviting me to join a Finnish group blog called Aula POV which I ended up running for a couple of years. And 3 Quarks Daily was started by me in 2004 at Marko's suggestion. Thanks to Aditya Dev Sood for sending me this article.]