Re-describing features is less costly than redesigning devices. Speaker phones are used for long, boring meetings. But a social mode is just what teenagers need. That’s right kids, just press that button and you and the friend that’s permanently attached to your hip can both talk at the same time with another friend and see and share pictures on your phone at the same time, too.
Put your phone on social mode and you all can talk and see! Who cares if you talk a little louder and adults around you can hear you? That’s their problem. Plus, they’re stupid so they won’t understand what you’re talking about anyway. Privacy? That’s for uptight geezers!
A show-and-tell social mode probably would be a lot more valuable to most mobile phone users than being able to use your Nokia N73 to take and upload photos to Flickr. Martin and his daughter could use it when communicating with Nana. The 78% of Swedish broadband customers who want to use a webcam on Christmas Eve probably would like to be able to do a “group call.” And they would probably rather not have to do it crowding around their desktop computer, wherever that’s located.
Communication devices need to move on from the design of phones. Recognizing that not all interpersonal communication is one-to-one would be a propitious place to start.