• 07.19.10

BlackBerry Challenge: Lure Users Other Than M&A Suits

Designers make a valiant effort to freshen the BlackBerry Blackberry Bold 9700 with splashy new cases.

BlackBerry Challenge: Lure Users Other Than M&A Suits


No matter what it does, BlackBerry can’t seem to shake its image problem: corporate, vanilla, old.

So the Dutch 3-D printing design and research firm Freedom of Creation mounted a design challenge that asked entrants to sex up the BlackBerry Bold 9700 for the young’uns. First prize went to Josien Pieters for her puzzle-like Freshfibers case. The case, which comes in a bunch of blinding ’80s colors, has triangle pieces on the back that you can pop out and arrange in whatever pattern you like.

The idea is that the triangles become schoolyard swag. Kids, covetous trolls that they are, trade triangles with their friends, and if you make some of the colors scarce, they’ll be natural collectors’ items. The jury was smitten with this idea of stimulating “(physical) interaction between global Blackberry users.”

A mobile phone that promotes real, live socializing? That’s a thought. A wishful one, to boot. It’s hard to imagine anyone caring about the back of his BlackBerry, when all the fun is happening up front. Still, it’s not a bad idea. Kids have collected stranger things.

An honorable mention went to Lionel Dean for a case that looks like a plate of spaghetti — called, appropriately, Linguini.

Another one went to Peter Hermans for B100. It’s a fake walkie-talkie inspired by and named for a criminal mastermind from the popular ’80s children’s show Bassie & Adriaan about a loopy circus duo — a sort of Dutch equivalent of Bert and Ernie. B100 is, in the words of the designer, “Soo ugly that you will want one.” Roger that.

Could any of these actually lure the youth away from their iPhones? Probably not. But we can totally see the corporate lunkheads getting into the triangle trading market.

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.