TIME Web

We’re Finally Getting a Middle Finger Emoji

Middle Finger Emoji
Microsoft Middle Finger Emoji

It's coming to Windows

The long-awaited middle finger emoji will be included in Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, according to Emojipedia.

The emoji is officially called “Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended.” The one-finger salute emoji has been available for tech companies to pack in their products for almost a year — emoji are an industry standard set by a non-profit group; individual tech companies like Apple and Google are free to adopt and interpret the group’s selections largely as they see fit. No major tech companies have yet adopted Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended.

Windows 10, Microsoft’s upcoming cross-platform operating system, is due out sometime this summer. It replaces Windows 8.1 — Microsoft skipped a number for undetermined reasons.

Read next: Microsoft’s Next Version of Windows Will Be a Free Upgrade

TIME Aviation

Why Some Airline Pilots Don’t Want Cameras in the Cockpit

Cockpit Video Camera Plane Safety
Bloomberg via Getty Images A Deutsche Lufthansa AG pilot, left, and co-pilot sit in the cockpit of a Boeing 747-8 passenger aircraft on Oct. 2, 2014.

Authorities debating whether the benefits outweigh the risks

The debate over video cameras in airplane cockpits is heating up, as a string of high-profile aviation disasters prompt concerns over whether accident investigators have sufficient information.

The United Nations’ aviation arm is expected to make a big push later this year to install video cameras in airliner cockpits, the Wall Street Journal reports. The discussions over the additional technology will likely take years; the regulation will ultimately fall into the hands of individual countries.

Pilot unions and other groups have long opposed cockpit video cameras, arguing that images or footage may be misused by accident investigators, prosecutors or news media. Additionally, some argue that the information provided by the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder — neither of which collect visual information — is sufficient. Others worry that the cameras may be doubled for routine monitoring of pilots, or that the costs of installing such technology are too high.

But cockpit camera opponents are facing an uphill battle. Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, argued last week before a Senate panel that in the crashes of SilkAir Flight 185 and EgyptAir Flight 990 in 1997 and 1999, respectively, information from cockpit cameras would have been able to confirm the suspected pilot suicides. Instead, both investigations turned up inconclusive despite strong evidence of a deliberate crash.

Read next: Why No One Agrees Whether Cockpit Doors Are Safer Locked or Open

[WSJ]

TIME Companies

Microsoft Co-Founder Says This Is the Company’s Biggest Challenge

Premiere Of Paramount Pictures' "Interstellar" - Arrivals
Frazer Harrison—Getty Images Co-founder of Microsoft Corporation Paul Allen attend the premiere of Paramount Pictures' "Interstellar" at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on October 26, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Paul Allen reflects on the company's 40 years of history

In a new interview, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen expressed amazement at how large the company has grown since he and Bill Gates founded it on a scrap of computer code 40 years ago. But he also warned of a long, hard slog to reclaim the mobile market.

“It’s possible,” Allen told the New York Times, noting that Microsoft would have to lure customers and developers away from highly popular smartphones and tablets that run Apple and Google’s operating systems. “It’s very challenging to carve back market share,” Allen said.

He also said he offered the same sympathetic advice for anyone who takes the helm of such a sprawling company. “You have such a challenging job because you have more competitors than any major CEO in the world has,” Allen said. Satya Nadella took over as chief executive of Microsoft in early 2014; Nadella has since followed a self-described “cloud first, mobile first” mentality at the company.

Read the full interview in the New York Times.

TIME Microsoft

Here’s Why Microsoft Is Suddenly Killing It Now

Key Speakers At The Microsoft Build Developer 2015 Conference
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

CEO Satya Nadella has changed the software giant's modus operandi. And investors are loving what they see

Remember Borg Microsoft, the bullying juggernaut that ruled the software industry with an iron fist? The Microsoft of 2015 has strayed so far from that original incarnation it might as well be called bizarro Microsoft.

Gone are the days when Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer mocked Linux or called it a cancer. Or when Ballmer laughed at the iPhone. Or when Ballmer dismissed Android was too hard to use. (A billion Android phones shipped last year.) The new Microsoft has shed its arrogance. These days, it works hard to play well with others.

And the new, more open approach is working. Microsoft’s stock is up 53% in the past two years after a very long season of stagnation. While the stock stumbled earlier this year, it’s up 14% since the company reported earnings on April 23, largely because of growth in its cloud business, such as its Azure computing platform.

Investors, flush from a strong year in tech stocks in 2014, are looking ahead to the end of 2015 and 2016. In some cases, they’re not liking what they see, but Microsoft is persuading more and more shareholders it’s ready to deliver on the cloud-first, mobile-first world that its CEO Satya Nadella has been touting. Unlike Netflix, Spotify or other companies that are thriving on cloud-based services for consumers, Microsoft has focused its cloud efforts in the enterprise market. Nadella said last week Microsoft’s enterprise cloud revenue, including hardware and software, would reach $20 billion a year within three years from about $6 billion now, an audacious goal but one that brought few snickers of disbelief.

MORE Meet the Inventor Behind Tech’s Weirdest New Product

Of course, much of this will come as its clients migrate from legacy products (like Microsoft Office) to cloud-based offerings (like Office 365), so there’s some cannibalization involved. And the shift is a project that Microsoft has been working on for years, thanks to moves made by Ballmer. Ballmer, it seems, was better at building an enterprise business than effectively bashing rivals in consumer tech.

Under Nadella, Microsoft is emerging as one of a handful of big names poised to thrive in the cloud economy alongside Amazon, IBM, and Google. But last week, as the company held its Build developer conference to announce details of Windows 10, Nadella made a pitch for Windows to become a platform where developers from other platforms–iOs, Android, Linux–would not only be welcome, but actively courted.

Windows 10 is designed to build “universal apps,” meaning a single app working on phones, tablets, PCs, consoles like Xbox and even one day a augmented-reality platform like HoloLens. App purchases can easily be billed directly through carriers, simplifying payments to developers. Microsoft also introduced Visual Studio, a free, cross-platform code editor that can write apps for Windows, OS X and Linux.

But the bigger surprise–and, depending on how developers respond, the potential game changer for Windows–is that Microsoft announced Islandwood and Astoria, two middleware projects that allow developers to easily port their existing apps into the Windows platform. Islandwood will let iOS apps work on Windows with a minimum of changes, while Astoria will do the same for Android apps.

In recent years, Microsoft has talked more and more about opening up its software ecosystem to developers working in other platforms, but much of the rhetoric has sounded like lip service. Visual Studio, Islandwood and Astoria moves show that Microsoft is dead serious about doing just that, retooling its offerings to actively reach out to the iOS and Android communities.

MORE Why Microsoft Thinks Your Phone Could Be Your Only Computer

The idea is to make it simple for iOS and Android developers to port their existing apps into Windows. In the mobile world, more apps can mean more users, which in turn gives developers more incentive to work with a particular platform. But the plan comes with risks, such as the possibility that some iOS/Android apps translate into inferior or buggy versions on Windows Mobile. Or that developers may be too busy or indifferent to try.

Microsoft is also doing what it can to upgrade users of Windows 8. Windows 10 will be free for the first year, which could interrupt the way Windows sales are recorded as revenue but has a much bigger draw: consumers and businesses will be more likely to upgrade quickly, giving Windows 10 developers a larger audience early on.

All of this is aimed at making Microsoft a single, unifying platform for developers. In that way, it’s not unlike the original goal Microsoft set out for itself. What’s fundamentally different is how Microsoft aims to reach that goal: not through brute-force coercion, but through creating an open and inviting platform that plays well with others.

In some ways, the open, cross-platform world of software today evolved in direct opposition to Microsoft’s arrogant dominance in the 80s and 90s. Now it must adapt. Nadella’s plan isn’t likely to make Windows dominant in the mobile world right away, but in time it could give it a more equal footing in mobile OS alongside iOS and Android. And that could keep Microsoft’s revenue growing for years.

Read next: Microsoft’s Crazy New Tech Totally Explains Why It Bought Minecraft

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TIME Apple watch

7 Most Surprising Things About Owning an Apple Watch

Apple Inc.'s Apple Watch Unboxed As Device Goes On Sale
Bloomberg/Getty Images

Apple's latest gadget comes with more than a few surprises

I’ve had an Apple Watch for a little over a week now. The most common question people ask you when you’ve got Apple’s wearable computer on your wrist is, “Has it changed your life?” Which is an odd question to ask about a gadget that starts at $349 and is, in large part, an accessory to your phone.

But the question points to the peculiar state Apple and its customers find themselves in at the moment. Anticipation and chatter about the Watch is high, but few people have actually seen one in the wild. The Watch’s rollout is unique compared to previous Apple products in that customers can, for the most part, only order it online and that initial supply appears to be extremely limited.

So has the Apple Watch changed my life? No. But it is an incredibly well-designed, compelling product. (I’m wearing a 38-millimeter stainless-steel model, which retails for $949 with a matching link bracelet.) A full review is coming—once the blush of newness has worn off—but in the meantime, here are the most surprising things about using an Apple Watch:

The battery life is very good.

One of the most prevalent initial concerns about the Watch was how long its battery would last. Presenting the device, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he personally recharged his every night, suggesting about a day’s worth of charge. And yet, many were skeptical.

Happily, this quasi-promise turns out to have been on the conservative side. I’ve been wearing the Watch during fairly long days (7AM-10PM) and have yet to have it flip into reserve power mode, which limits some functions while preserving time-telling. Most days, even ones that include a half an hour to an hour of exercise, the Watch has had about 20% battery left when I pop it into its charging cradle in the evenings.

MORE The Odd Thing Apple Banned from the Apple Watch

This is all the more impressive since I’ve been poking and prodding it more than I might once I’ve worn it for a few months. There is a caveat, several days of charge would allow sleep-monitoring, something many dedicated fitness trackers now do by default.

Its gorgeous.

This may seem obvious, but I find the design to be one of the Watch’s chief virtues. All of Apple’s products are deeply thought-through and finely milled. But the Watch isn’t just a gadget, it’s fashion. It’s just a nice looking object. And much of the time, that’s all it is since the screen automatically turns off to preserve power.

Siri works really well.

The Watch doesn’t have a built-in keyboard. Which makes sense since typing on it would be difficult, if not impossible. If you want to search for a location in Maps, send a text message, or set an alarm or timer, you can dictate using a version of Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant. This works incredibly well. I routinely find myself lifting my wrist and saying “Hey Siri,” which launches the Siri app. From there, using Siri is very much the same as on an iPhone or iPad (though, the Watch implementation doesn’t talk back).

People don’t notice it (much).

Aside from a few Apple diehards who honed onto my wrist like heat-guided missiles, few people seem to notice I’m wearing a smartwatch. This is comforting since, I’ll admit, I was a little worried about making a statement. This may owe to a preference for long-sleeve shirts or to having the smaller version. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to not have to have a conversation about the Watch unless I choose to, say, by obnoxiously and grandiosely offering to tell a coworker the time even though she never asked.

There are lots of apps.

And some of them are pretty good. Apple is initially limiting how much access app developers have to the Watch’s underlying hardware, like the heart rate monitor for instance. That limits some of their functions, but also likely helps preserve battery life and minimize software conflicts. That also means, in practice, a lot of third-party apps are limited. My favorite so far: Nike+ for running, taxi-hailing service Uber, Hue to control my apartment’s smart lighting, Instagram, and one more I’ll get into below.

MORE The New Apple Ad Will Break Your Heart into a Million Tiny Pieces

The bands matter.

Apple loaned me a link bracelet and a white sport band. Switching the bands is extremely easy—and addictive. I’ve been swapping them out depending on whether I plan to exercise or not, but I could see having a range of bands depending on what I’m wearing, et cetera. Much like accessories for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad before it, I anticipate the secondary market for Watch bands becoming considerable in scope.

And an obvious bonus: TIME looks great on it.

Not a surprise, really. And I’m clearly biased, but if you have an Apple Watch, make sure to check out our app. More details here.

Read next: Why Tattoos Might Be a Huge Problem for the Apple Watch

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Video Games

The 10 Best Star Wars Games

That you can play right now... May the 4th be with you

Happy Star Wars day! Want a trove of games—released a long time ago, but in a galaxy just down the way—to help you while away the nearly 5,500 hours that stand between today and the ballyhooed debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 18?

Here you go then, a compendium of gaming’s brightest vamps on George Lucas’s Campbellian space opera, now living in what Disney calls its “Star Wars Legends” line (formerly the “Expanded Universe”). That, if you hadn’t heard, is Disney’s controversial wave-of-the-hand relegation of everything not the films, TV shows or recent books to “maybe it did/didn’t happen” status. So much for Luke Skywalker rubbing elbows with Kyle Katarn, or you usurping a 4,000-year-old Sith Lord to become one yourself.

But never mind that, because games are innately anti-canonical—subversion’s in their DNA. And while some on this list were more genre acolytes than pioneers when they first appeared a decade or more ago, a few managed to be exemplars of the medium for their time.

My only guideline in culling these 10 from the record books, was that they had to be playable on currently available platforms. So think of these as less a “best Star Wars games ever” lineup (though they’re nearly that) than the best you can sample without having to track down the original hardware or software.

  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

    Arguably the apotheosis of all the Star Wars games, Bioware’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic transported players thousands of years into the galaxy’s past, folding iconic lore like Jedis, Sith Lords, lightsabers and droids into a baroque reinterpretation of Lucas’s science fantasy verse. You’ll find some who’ll swear Bioware’s take on Star Wars bests even the original trilogy (including The Empire Strikes Back), and given the caliber of games Bioware was releasing at the time (both Baldur’s Gate installments), it’s easy to see why.

    How to play: Android, iOS, GOG.com, Mac, Steam

  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords

    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords was a bug-riddled and unfinished mess when it first arrived in late 2004. Time and sufficient patching have thankfully rectified most of its shortcomings, allowing players to experience one of the most insightful and reflective Star Wars stories on the books. Credit design lead Chris Avellone (Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity), whose exhilarating vamp on the Star Wars universe simultaneously deconstructed it.

    How to play: GOG.com, Steam,

  • Star Wars: The Old Republic

    What if the esteemed studio that gave us Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic crafted a modern MMO that revisited the era’s storied 4,000-year-old playground? EA’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, released in 2011 and still going strong, capitulates to MMO tropes (like fetch-and-deliver quests ad infinitum), but dressed in better-than-average, more personalized storylines.

    How to play: swtor.com

  • Star Wars: TIE Fighter

    Sure, 1993’s Star Wars: X-Wing was terrific, but it took 1994’s TIE Fighter to catapult developer Totally Games’ series to legendary status. For the first time in gaming history, players could campaign for the other side, exploring the Empire’s strangely compelling machinations–peace by the sword–through ingenious white-knuckled sorties, piloting vulnerable Imperial star fighters without combat backstops like deflector shields. TIE Fighter remains one of the best flight simulations ever made, a tour de force of mission design, plausibly brutal Newtonian deep space dogfighting and subversive storytelling.

    How to play: GOG.com

  • Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

    My favorite moment in the friendly, rollicking, collection-angled Lego Star Wars games happens early on, in Lego Star Wars itself when you’re poking around Mos Eisley, playing co-op with a friend. At one point you come across a pile of unassembled Lego bits and bobs. You don’t have to do anything. You can just walk on by. But tap a button to whip the mess together, and you’ll find yourself staring down an Imperial AT-ST. At which point my companion yelled: “We just built our own boss monster!”

    How to play: Android, iOS, Mac, Steam

  • Super Star Wars

    I’m skirting my platform stricture here, but if you’re still rocking a Wii, you can pull this platforming run-and-gun down via Nintendo’s Virtual Console for 800 points ($8). Take note of the game’s first-person, pseudo-3D levels, where you can zip around flattened Tatooine landscapes in Luke’s land speeder, lobbing energy balls at enemies. Nintendo called this “Mode 7″ back in the day, and while it looks dated today, seeing it in games like F-Zero and Super Star Wars in the early 1990s was a revelation.

    How to play: Virtual Console (Wii)

  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

    Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II stands as the first Star Wars game that let you experience, however crudely, the combat life of a Jedi Knight. Other games had let you swing the franchise’s iconic lightsaber or pull off Force tricks from sidewise perspectives, but Dark Forces II put that lightsaber (and those force powers) in your hands, then leveled the camera where your eyes would be, propelling you through puzzle-filled levels flush with enemies you could optionally choke or throw or envelop with tendrils of bluish lightning.

    How to play: GOG.com, Steam

  • Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

    Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast may harbor lower lows (uneven level design) than its predecessor, but it’s also packing higher highs (lightsaber play, force powers). And it remains an essential play if the whole “be a Jedi Knight” thing ranks high on your list of Star Wars-ian fantasies.

    How to play: GOG.com, Mac, Steam

  • Star Wars: Empire at War

    No one’s yet produced a Star Wars strategy game to rival the genre’s best, but Star Wars: Empire at War comes the closest. Developer Petroglyph, harboring designers who’d worked on pioneering the real-time strategy games Dune II and Command & Conquer, folded competent terrestrial and space-based real-time strategy battles into a galaxy-spanning meta campaign that gave players control of heroic figures like Leia, Han Solo, Darth Vader and the Emperor himself.

    How to play: GOG.com, Mac, Steam

  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds

    Yes, developer Ensemble slapped a coat of Star Wars paint on Age of Empires II, but worse things have happened in gaming. The result was a respectable, reasonably deep real-time strategy game that offered just enough Star Wars flavor—albeit steeped in prequel lore, fair warning—to make it passably more than Age of Empires 2.5.

    How to play: GOG.com

TIME People

Silicon Valley CEO David Goldberg Mourned by Friends and Colleagues

Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington and others have posted on social media about the beloved CEO

People are taking to social media to express their shock and condolences over the sudden death of David Goldberg, SurveyMonkey CEO and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted on the social networking site, saying Goldberg “was an amazing person and I’m glad I got to know him.”

Arianna Huffington said she was “blessed to get to know him through his beloved wife Sheryl and to see firsthand what an amazing father, son, innovator, and caring friend he was.”

Others tweeted their remembrances as well:

And many more are putting their thoughts and photos on Goldberg’s Facebook page, which is what his brother Robert requested when he confirmed news of Goldberg’s death.

TIME People

Silicon Valley CEO David Goldberg, Husband of Sheryl Sandberg, Dies Suddenly

He is survived by his wife, Sheryl Sandberg, and their two children

David Goldberg, Silicon Valley CEO and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died suddenly Friday night.

The 47-year-old CEO of SurveyMonkey died of undetermined causes, according to reports. Goldberg’s brother, Robert Goldberg, shared the news on Facebook.

“It’s with incredible shock and sadness that I’m letting our friends and family know that my amazing brother, Dave Goldberg, beloved husband of Sheryl Sandberg, father of two wonderful children, and son of Paula Goldberg, passed away suddenly last night,” Robert Goldberg wrote Saturday afternoon.

The post details how the family would like fans and friends of Goldberg to honor him: “In lieu of donations, we want to celebrate his life in a manner that respects the family’s privacy as they cope with this tragic, life changing event: Sheryl, their children, and our family would be grateful if people would post their memories and pictures of Dave to his Facebook profile.”

TIME Smartphones

HTC’s Lead Designer Explains How Smartphones Get Made

htc-one-m9-global-phone-listing
HTC HTC One M9

"You can make the wildest predictions, but it will always surpass your imagination"

trustedreviews-logo

TrustedReviews sat down with Daniel Hundt, HTC’s passionate Creative Director and now Lead Designer, to ask him about the design of HTC’s latest flagship – the HTC One M9. He explains honest design, how materials affect the process and why the world isn’t yet ready for modular phones.

Trusted Reviews: What’s changed on the One M9 and why?

Hundt: A common question we get is: “Why does it look similar to the One M8 and M7?” It’s really important for us that we keep the lineage. We’ve built a strong brand with the One and we want to continue that strong DNA. I tell my team all the time that we need discipline – we can’t get bored of what we’re doing, we have to stay true to who we are what we feel is HTC. We have to keep what’s good and improve on what’s not working.

We’re always striving to make the perfect product. Sometimes we’re pretty close, other times we’re further away, but we always seek greatness combined with consistency.

What we did with the M8 was shrink down the size to make it more pocketable and feel better in your hand. We made the M8 rounder than the M7 to attract more female customers, but also to make it more ergonomic. One interesting thing that we learned from making it round was that, as you use it, the texture changes, so it becomes more slippery. People said, “Hey, it’s really hard to hold, can you guys go back to something that has a little more of an edge feel?”. We ended up with something in between the M7 and M8 because that’s what people want.

How do you decide what materials to make a phone out of?

Craftsmanship is really important to us. When we talk about our products, we talk about our inspiration. We think of ourselves as makers – like shoemakers, watchmakers, instrument makers – and get inspired by attention to detail. That’s the level of perfection that we try to apply.

The HTC One M9 is a premium phone, a premium device, with premium materials. We invested heavily in making a phone with a metal unibody and bringing that to life, and over the last three years we’ve been looking to improve that.

On the M7 we had a metal unibody with some plastic on the sides. We improved the design on the M8 where we had 95% metal content. As competitors started to catch up it was important that we push ourselves again and bring the metal finish, and the way we work with metal, to another level. That’s why we introduced not just the dual tone, but also the dual finish – two processes in one phone.

First we machine the back from one block of aluminum – 95% of the aluminum gets machined away, but of course we recycle that into new blocks. Then we anodize it and then machine it again, treat the edge and put another really fine hairline and anodize it again. It’s a pretty crazy process and one of the reasons I love working for HTC is that we’re doing those things.

We sit down with our CEO and present ideas we feel have a consumer benefit and people really love. If we present an opportunity that can make a real emotional connection with the user, then we go for it, and I really think as a company we have our heart in the right place. We think about the consumer before the bottom line.

You use metal for the One M9, but do other materials provide more design benefits?

Whenever you deal with a conductive material like metal, you have to deal with the antennas so the phone almost designs itself. There’s a beauty in that. As a designer you sort of guide the process rather than trying to shape it into what you want. You’re almost not designing it as a designer, you’re there to guide the process rather than to try to steer it. You have to let go of control and let the material and technology do its thing, and you just make sure it stays on track. It’s a fascinating process.

Can a flagship phone made of plastic ever compete with the likes of the metal One M9?

No. You’ve seen other brands play in that space before [with phones] that were completely made out of plastic and tricked people into thinking they had a metal frame. Obviously the market has shown that you can be successful if you put enough marketing knowledge behind it, but I fundamentally believe that’s the wrong thing to do. When we use a material, we want to be honest about it. We try not to fake things; we’re totally against that.

So the problem isn’t plastic, the problem is making plastic look like another material?

Yes. That’s bottom-line thinking. You take the cheapest available material and then you try to make it look like something else. Fundamentally I don’t agree with that. When you show a person a product in a picture you’re giving them a promise, and I think you have to be true to yourself. If you tell them that you’re going to give them metal, you give them metal. If you want to give them a different material then you have to be honest about that as well. Plastic can be beautiful, it’s a matter of how you use a moulding technology to bring it to a new level, like we’ve done with the Desire Eye and Desire 820.

Do you think some manufacturers compromise battery life too much in the pursuit of thinness?

Yes, but we don’t look at what other people do and how they make trade-offs. For us it’s about finding the right balance. We study that a lot. You wouldn’t believe how many mock-ups of the HTC One M9 we have with different batteries in. We put everything on the table and think about battery life and see what effect it will have on the form factor and make those smart tradeoffs. We don’t just say “this is the battery it has to have.” We do tons of mockups and put ourselves in the role of the consumer and decide what will really benefit them.

It’s very tempting to play the spec game, but we try not to get ourselves caught up in that. What’s the user benefit to have a phone 0.1 or 0.2mm thinner? It’s a strong statement to say you have the thinnest phone available, but we try not to get caught up in that.

What will the phone of 2020 look like?

I stopped making predictions so far out. Just looking back in the history of mobile phones, technology exceeds your imagination. You can make the wildest predictions, but it will always surpass your imagination.

What about modular phones then? Will they ever be as successful or be as good as a well-designed all-in-one phone?

It might be as technology advances. It’s about tradeoffs. If you have something modular you have wall thicknesses to consider. Once technology reaches a certain size why wouldn’t it be successful?

I don’t think it’s marketable yet, though. I think the tradeoffs on an everyday level for a product like that, because of its size, mean it’s not justifiable yet. It’s more for novelty’s sake. It’s very interesting and it will happen, but technology has to adapt.

[Making a modular phone] is similar to choosing a material for a phone. You will have to guide the process. Technology will set the rules, the outline, and our job as designers is to create a function by which those rules are applied. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in that space. I’m not clawing onto the fact that this [One M9] has to be in this package or sit in this form. If there’s a consumer benefit then we’ll look at it.

How are bezel-free designs and curved and flexible screens going to change the design of phones going forward?

Well, the bezel-free design we’re all driving for has a clear consumer benefit, which is size. You have maximum screen-to-form ratio and that’s something I’m really excited about.

Curved displays always take me back to the question of consumer benefit. Is it just for novelty’s sake, is it to be interesting, have something to talk about, or does it have a long-lasting benefit to the user?

At the moment where do you think curved displays sit?

I haven’t seen an application yet where it’s for true user benefit. So far, curved screens are for novelty’s sake.

What makes a design stand the test of time and can another truly iconic phone ever be made with annual refresh cycles?

I don’t see this as a limit. It’s important for us to have discipline. We felt like we had something special when we were working on the HTC One M7 three years ago, the first completely unibody phone with the strong iconic look. As a design team we felt we’d found something. This is HTC moving on. We want to maintain that.

It’s important for us to have the discipline and not react to the marketing team saying, “Hey, we need something new, we need to be the thinnest.” We want to keep what’s good and what’s recognizable for us and work on the elements that don’t work so well for us.

If you have an icon and create something good, you should hone it and refine it rather than doing something revolutionary.

This post is in partnership with Trusted Reviews. The article above was originally published at TrustedReviews.com.

TIME Software

See How Presidents Age in the White House, According to Microsoft

Perhaps no job can add gray hairs and wrinkles like serving as President of the United States. While Presidents do live longer than their fellow citizens (“Even in the 19th century, when the average man died at age 47, U.S. Presidents lived an average of 69 years,” according to Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy), their looks show the weight of the office famously quickly. But how fast? By using Microsoft’s new age-guessing tool how-old.net, released Thursday, we might be able to get an idea. While Barack Obama’s only been in office six years, judging by a photograph from 2009 and 2015, the wizards at Microsoft claim Obama’s looks have aged 13 years. George W. Bush, according to these two images, added nine years to his face during his eight years working in the Oval Office. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush worked in the White House for four years–and his face grew four years older too. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both served for 8 years. Clinton’s features clocked 15 years while Reagan added a mere 2 years onto his looks during the same stretch.

 

 

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