ESPOO, Finland – It looks like a creature which has just reached the next rung of the evolutionary ladder. A baby jellyfish that somehow managed to flip itself up the beach out of the sea, instinctively searching for the next environment to sustain its ultimate metamorphosis into a sentient being.
When lights inside it start flashing and images appear on its skin, I want to reach for a pitchfork and round up a mob of angry peasants to help me chase it back to the depths of the ocean.
But then I hear a familiar ringtone, di de le de, di de le de, di de le de, der.
A man in a white lab coat, who – incidentally – invented Bluetooth, picks it up and hands it to me.
“It’s for you,” he says.
Tentatively, I put it to my ear, fearing I will end up with ectoplasm on my sideburns.
But it feels warm and instantly moulds to my ear. I don’t have to press anything to answer. The Hi-Def voice on the line is editor-in-chief Heidi who invited me to Finland to show me something special.
“What do you think of this?” she asks. “This is the HumanForm, and you are the first Englishman to receive a call on it.”
“What’s human about it?” I ask. “This is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to an alien.”
“You have oddly-shaped ears,” she says, with her familiar Finnish bluntness. “Imagine how hard it would be to make a phone to give you the perfect listening experience.
“So we’ve produced one that will work better for everyone’s shape because it is flexible. That’s why we called it HumanForm. And it even fits you,” she laughs, as if I had ears like Spock from Star Trek.
It sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? Well, it is. This was the scenario put to me of how the mock-up I am holding in my hands would work if it was developed into a full prototype. Watch our amazing video and decide for yourself whether this concept will be a reality in our stores.
It’s just one of the ideas developed at Nokia Research Center. And I’ve been lucky enough to be invited here, after asking them to let me in for six years, ever since an in-house PR person first described it to me. But at the time, they wouldn’t dream of allowing a journalist in.
But this week, the Center has a special anniversary to celebrate.
Twenty-five years of changing the world.
It was here and back then when they had the vision to see that today we would be texting, video calling, watching video and even measuring our heartbeat . . . . on a phone.
I am not worthy to be in the presence of such people, the Gods of my tech world.
But the strange thing is, they don’t sit on thrones, and they are very friendly.
And luckily, they don’t seem to mind the fact that, in comparison, I have the brain the size of a pea and only got a B in Physics.
The HumanForm phone concept demonstrates Nokia’s deep commitment to evolving the phone and taking it to the next level. All the stuff I’m seeing is new to me. But for the guys at Nokia Research Center, it’s already history.
Now watch this amazing video of the Kinetic phone, which gives a whole new meaning to the bendy phone.
We’ll be bringing you more news linked to the NRC over the next few weeks. For example, now a top Nokia scientist is predicting a telepathic phone.