Metallic handsets: the latest phone trend

Metal ― it’s the latest fad in cell phone design.
From late last year to early this year, the key word in cell phone marketing was “color.” Handset manufacturers focused on unique colors such as lime, magenta, and orange, to appeal to consumers. Now, however, the focus has turned to materials.

The “LG Shine” is a fully metal handset with a liquid crystal display mirror on the front that becomes a screen when the phone is activated.
The phone, unlike its predecessors, is not gilded with metal, but made of metal itself.
“This handset is set to capture the imagination of mobile phone users who crave the perfect balance between design and technology,” said Bae Jae, executive vice president of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company’s Global Business Division. “It has already captured the imagination of the media and consumers in Korea with its real metal magic mirror screen, and we expect the same reaction prior to its worldwide launch.”

LG’s Shine took the metallic trend started by Samsung and Motorola a step further. Metal phones require advanced technology because otherwise they would create magnetic fields, bog down wave transmission rates and make the handset heavier.

Samsung Electronics’ “magic silver” phone, released last month, was made of magnesium, also a material uncommon in the production of cell phones. As of last week, less than a month after its release, 30,000 units had been sold.
The magic silver phone was the first handset in Korea to use magnesium gilded with other metals such as copper, nickel and chrome. Analysts noted that it was the use of metal gilding that made metallic phones more popular. Because metals could potentially make the handsets heavier, these handsets only used a thin coating of metal on the front side of the handset to give the phone a metallic look.

“The material of a cell phone is a detrimental factor in deciding the color and touch of the product, in addition to its intensity,” an analyst said. “Now that cell phones are a fashion item, handset makers are opting for state-of-the-art materials which will enable them to make thinner, stronger and more colorful phones.” by Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily

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