Could a Circular Smartphone "Rethink Tech?"

For the IdeaFestival fans out there who might be designers, Wired asks the question: what's in a circle? The creators of the smartphone, Runcible, are betting that the rectangle-as-frame brings along a number of assumptions that inform the user experience, and not necessarily in a positive way.

Rectangles are still subtly dictating our behavior today. Movie screens, chased by TVs, have gotten bigger and wider, encouraging us to sit back and lose ourselves in the spectacle. (In 1930, Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein lamented how the cinema’s 'passive horizontalism.' He wanted the screen to be square.) Smartphones, with their slender, touch-controlled displays, have become a distinctly more active rectangle. Paired with the never-ending vertical feeds that fill apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they’ve become an irresistible, inexhaustible diversion....

Described by Wired as more "provocation" than product, the phone's creators ask if a circular phone would be less of an interruption and more of an actual information help.

Runcible isn’t meant to be a smartphone replacement so much as an alternative. 'I think we’ve become really, really good at getting interrupted and creating conduits for interruption,' says Monohm CEO Aubrey Anderson, who met his co-founders during a stint at Apple. “It’s time now to use technology to get a little quieter.” If miniaturizing the computer is what got us the smartphone, Runcible asks what a gizmo might look like if you started by souping up a pocket watch. And the shape of the device is central to that thinking. A circular frame, after all, is no good for browsing a Twitter feed.

Read the entire article after the jump.

Stay curious™