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October 2, 2008

Is the phone the freedom tool of the 21st century?

ESPOO, Finland – In the course of our interview with Daniel Peterson from Nokia Design, he made a comparison between cars in the 20th century with phones in the 21st century.

Daniel spent many years as a Vehicle Industrial Designer in the auto industry. And he’s been comparing those years with what he’s been learning about mobiles since joining Nokia about a year ago. He has a strong sense of responsibility for the people he designs for. He feels that the design decisions he makes affects many people and he believes Design is a way to make things more human and more beneficial to humanity.

He also wonders whether the phone can supplant the car as a tool for freedom.

The car used to be what folks aspired to and always represented a sense of freedom to individuals. It was a way people were able to choose where to go and connect with others and the world. And, cars led to paved roads, gas stations, travel lodges and other spin-offs to support this freedom of movement.

But, the world has changed in the past 60 years since car use took off on a grand scale. Cars are expensive, pollution is rising, traffic is everywhere, gas is dear, and there’s never enough parking. A car is a burden these days.

Now the mobile phone is what people aspire to own as a tool for freedom – freedom to connect to people, freedom from the tyranny of place, freedom to carry out business. And the phone affects a wider range of people, too, than the car ever did.

What do you think? What will be the spin-offs in the mobile world that will (or already do) support the freedom of movement and communication that a mobile phone provides?

Image from Stig Nygaard