All screens are rectangles right? My five-year-old boy who has broken several iPads could tell you that is true. But what if manufacturers suddenly went to a circular design? How would that change the landscape of smart phones and tablets? If you look up Internet providers by zip code in Bing could you handle looking at a little circle? Startup firm in Berkeley California thinks is a good idea.
Monohm is currently working on a circular palm-sized device that would replace most smart devices. Theirs is called Runcible and there is currently a three person team hard at work to shift that paradigm and be the next big digital device.
Internally the company refers to their device as the "anti-smartphone" which is a reference to both its circular design and how it will be valued by the user. Runcible is to be the antidote for the currently notification saturated and spammed out of existence digital life people are leaving now.
The problem is if you look back into the past displays have almost always been rectangular. These can be identified as TVs, computers, movie screens, and even glasses were originally all rectangular. And don't forget paintings, Windows, and print pages. Just go ahead and assume that everything we've ever looked at this point is a rectangle.
The makers of Runcible do have a point in that rectangles to seem to be dictating quite a bit of our behavior. Movie screens, followed by TVs, have gotten bigger and wider over time which has in turn made the viewing experience more immersive. Now smart phones with their touch displays are even more active rectangle in the lives of the users. Couple that with verticals information feeds and apps like Twitter, Facebook, injuring, and more they become what many find it irresistible to version.
What this means is shape matters. The shape defines how a user interacts with the device, and perhaps limits the usefulness of the device over time. So by changing from a rectangle to a circle we may be changing a lot more than the initial appearance of an Internet device.
Runcible is meant to be an alternative to smart phones and tablets, not a replacement. The device is supposed to help reduce disruption in someone's life, whereas smart phones and tablets tend to actually want to disrupt activity and monopolize the users time in ways that may or may not be useful. A spokesperson for the company said, "it's time now to use technology to get a little quieter".
So what the hell is this thing supposed to do? So far the three person team working on the project for over a year has prototype hardware, a few sketches and accrued operating system. Clearly they have a long way to go, but do they have a vision of where they're going. They do have a few ideas for applications such as a dashboard to manage social media accounts, a compass style mapping system that actually encourages wandering around as opposed to the straight line efficiency with current apps, as well as several other applications designed to streamline interaction and distill information. Basically they want to restrain the experience is currently out-of-control in a smart phone.