The design of mobile devices has played an important role at all times. When buying, many look exactly at the exterior, especially when it comes to relatively expensive models, where there is no point in worrying about the technical stuffing. But with the ubiquity of touchscreen smartphones with metal or glass cases, there is virtually nothing to choose from: almost all devices are as alike as two drops of water. The situation is aggravated by the fact that many vendors began to copy solutions from industry leaders. This can be seen especially clearly in the example of a cutout at the top of the screen that has set the teeth on edge: this feature was instantly adopted not only by Chinese companies of the third echelon, which copy everything that comes to hand, but also by world famous brands.
So there is very little room for designers' creativity. But recently, several models with a transparent cover have appeared at once. First it was HTC U11 +, in which you can admire the NFC antenna and some other insides behind tinted glass. After him, several smartphones in a similar style appeared. At the same time, the technique itself is not new: transparent elements of the case have been used in mobile and computer technology for more than a decade.
Nintendo game boy
Nintendo has become one of the pioneers of transparent cases in the field of mobile technology. In the late 1980s, she launched the mega-popular Game Boy handheld console. The prefix came in several color combinations, including Clear, in which you could get a good look at the insides.
In 2001, the 32-bit Game Boy Advance went on sale, which was also available in a transparent version.
LG GD900 Crystal
In 2009, smartphones were already gaining popularity, but at Mobile World Congress LG I decided to surprise everyone with an unusual slider. When closed, it did not stand out from the competition, but its transparent retractable keyboard did not leave anyone indifferent.
It is noteworthy that this transparent part also acted as a touchpad. Even handwriting recognition was supported.
Since the LG GD900 Crystal was originally conceived as a fashion device, it was not destined to become mainstream.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness
Also in 2009, the world saw the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness, which received a transparent display. Then it seemed that the future had already arrived. However, in reality, in addition to the extraordinary design, the novelty could not boast of anything. In addition, the unusual screen had poor readability.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness cost over 40,000 rubles, which was very expensive by the standards of 'dialers' (recall that events took place in 2009). But this model still had a small impact on the industry: in 2010, the S800, decorated in a similar style Lenovo, was released, and in 2012, sales of the conventionally Russian Explay Crystal began. The latter was sold for quite a moderate amount – about 4-5 thousand rubles.
Phone from the movie 'Iron Man 2'
The 2010 sci-fi film Iron Man 2 featured a wide variety of gadgets. One of them turned out to be a completely transparent smartphone. With his help, the character of Robert Downey Jr. controlled his TV, set the house on an alarm, and even showed video using the built-in projector. Of course, this is just a concept.
In 2014, Japanese operator KDDI introduced the smartphone LG Fx0. He received an almost completely transparent body, both at the back and at the front. This was not limited to its unusualness: the device was running on the operating system Firefox OS 2.0.
As is often the case in such cases, LG Fx0 turned out to be a Japanese exclusive, so it was not sold outside the Land of the Rising Sun.
HTC U11 +
Among the fresh devices, the first to try on a transparent case was HTC U11 +. In it, behind the tinted rear window, you could see the circles of the NFC antenna. It looks interesting, but not everyone liked such a bright emphasis on the inner content.
HTC U12 +
By the time HTC U12 + was released, the Taiwanese company's designers had redefined their approach to transparent devices. In the novelty, behind the glass panel, you can see only a couple of cables, a few bolts and a striped battery cover. Bright elements are a thing of the past.
Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition
An even louder premiere was Xiaomi Mi 8. The flagship of the Chinese company is presented in several versions, including the top Explorer Edition. It stands out with a built-in fingerprint scanner, an advanced face recognition system and a translucent cover. And although this feature was probably spied on by HTC, the designers Xiaomi went even further and allowed to admire the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip!
True, almost immediately it became known that all this silicon splendor was just a props. Yes, this is not a drawing or a sticker, as critics hastened to inform, but a real 3D design, but it has nothing to do with a real processor.
Is this good or bad? Cheating or an original design move? Let everyone decide for himself. But in the future, this idea will certainly be picked up by other companies.
What's in the future?
In May, it was rumored that Samsung had patented technology that would allow smartphones with transparent displays. And technologists are already remaking the Galaxy S8 and S9 by removing the back cover and cleaning it from the inner coating.
As for fully transparent smartphones, so far they exist only as concepts or, at best, prototypes.