Concept Series: Seabird – A Community-driven Mobile Phone Concept

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Since Mozilla Labs launched the Concept Series with an open call for participation we’ve had thousands of people join in, share ideas and develop concepts around Firefox, the Mozilla projects and the Open Web as a whole.

In response to our open call Billy May, in early 2009, produced a throw-away concept for an “Open Web Concept Phone”. Working directly off of that community feedback, Billy has since finished the exploration with his concept “Seabird”.

The following write-up is by Billy May and explores what an Open Web phone might look like:

Concept Series: Seabird

Also available in 3D on YouTube (cross-eyed/red-cyan/etc):

Overview

The Mozilla Seabird, part of the Mozilla Labs’ Concept Series, is an experiment in how users might interact with their mobile content as devices and technology advances. Drawing on insights culled from the Mozilla community through the project’s blog, a focus quickly developed around frustrating physical interactions. While mobile CPUs, connectivity and development platforms begin approaching that of desktops, the lagging ability to efficiently input information has grown ever more pronounced.

Seabird Concept 1

Interaction

The Seabird, then, introduces a few possibilities into how user interaction might evolve with the advancing motion capture and projector driven innovation in the market. First out, the Seabird imagines how a multiple use dongle might augment the crowded gestural interface with greater precision and direct manipulation of content in 3D space.

Seabird Concept 2

Pico Projector

With mobile phone companies such as Samsung, LG and Motorola moving towards display applications for projectors, the technology remains open for expanding user interaction and input at the same time. The Seabird, on just a flat surface, enables netbook-quality interaction by working with the projector’s angular distortion to deliver interface, rather than content. With the benefit of a dock, each projector works independently and delivers laptop levels of efficiency.

Seabird Concept 3

Design

The form development took its cues from various aerodynamic, avian and decidedly feminine forms. Its erect posture intends a sense of poise while its supine conformity to the hand reconciles that with the user’s desire for digital control. The curvature of the back also serves a functional role in elevating the projector lens elements when lying flat.

Seabird Concept 4

Seabird is a community-driven exploration and does not mean that Mozilla has plans to produce an OS or hardware at the moment. Find out more about Mozilla Firefox for Mobile here.

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FAQ

Who created this project?

Seabird was created by Billy May, a Mozilla Labs community member who in early 2009 created an initial vision of what an Open Web mobile phone could look like. Seabird is Billy’s followup project in which he incorporated the feedback he received from the wider community on his first throw-away concept. To learn more about Billy May, please visit his homepage.

How does this relate to Mozilla / Mozilla Labs?

Billy is a community member in the Mozilla Labs community and created Seabird in his spare time. Seabird is not a Mozilla or Mozilla Labs project but part of the Mozilla Labs Concept Series. The Concept Series provides a place for the wider community to create and collaborate on projects which push the boundaries of the Web and the browser.

Does Mozilla have plans to produce a mobile phone?

No. Mozilla produces Firefox for Mobile, the popular Firefox browser for mobile phone systems such as Nokia Maemo and Android. You can find out more about Mozilla Firefox for Mobile here.