What do get when you combine a Leica M8, a universal shelving system and a Braun radio designed by Dieter Rams, some Illy ground coffee tins and an Ikepod Solaris watch? Probably not much but thankfully 18-year-old Andrew Seunghyun Kim has used design influences from those very items to produce a gorgeous mobile phone concept he's decided to call the "HTC 1" (though he has no affiliation with HTC). From the slight curve to the touchscreen display to its metallic construction and simple but functional user interface – it's a pretty slick design.
A product design student who has just completed his freshman year at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Kim is a self-confessed geek and a big fan of tech with lots of buttons, switches and touchscreen interaction. But he took a minimalist path for his HTC 1 design, the front having just a home button, camera and touchscreen display.
Kim sees the capacitive touchscreen at around 3.7 inches diagonally across and to a certain extent will be self-cleaning. Although it will do little for greasy finger marks, the in-built UV LCD surface cleaner fires while the phone is charging to clear the HTC 1 of nasty micro-organisms. There's a slight curve to the display too, not enough to interfere with a user's visual enjoyment but enough to make it stand out from the crowd.
The device would be wrapped up in strong machined brass with a silver finish with a speaker at each end for media audio and a channeling system to send the sound through to the face of the phone during a call. One end of the phone is pivoted to act as an integrated kickstand which allows the HTC 1 to sit on a bedside table as an alarm clock or stood at the perfect angle as a media device.
Underneath the display Kim has placed a simple home button, telling Gizmag that he "made this phone to be very minimal." Functions like optical tracking could "easily be implemented," he adds.
Kim sees is design running the Android operating system with an overhaul of the Sense user interface to include full screen widgets, a single stream messaging application and social networking widget, an application drawer and a notification tab.
Moving away from the somewhat "dull and technical" look of current Android players, the music player becomes simple, functional yet attractive - and just "works as it should."
Sadly, the HTC 1 is unlikely to reach production as is. Kim has no connection with the company and created his renderings as a personal project. Kim did tell Gizmag that interest in his designs has led to a number of job offers and the opportunity of contracting with Google in the very near future. So, who knows? Perhaps aspects of his creativity may well appear in yet-to-be-produced real-world gadgets.
But the design student's immediate future involves a to transfer to Art Center in Pasadena for his sophomore year.