Talby was originally a character that appeared in the 1974 film, Dark Space, which is a spoof on the science fiction genre. In the film, Talby is a recluse resigned to the dome of the spaceship he travels in, gazing at the stars in the universe.
Talby is also the product design model for a Japanese mobile phone. The product design was a creative collaboration between well-known product designer, Mike Newson; and au, the mobile communication arm of KDDI corp. Interface designer and art director, Brendon Smale, was in charge of designing the main interface.
Japanese mobile phones are known for their sleek, compact designs and next generation technology. One thing, they are not known for, is their user interface: messy and quite complicated. The user interface probably reflects congested spaces that are quite common in Japan.
Talby is aimed at improving user experience by creating a clear, concise, and consistent interface that reflects a modern aesthetic while reflecting its Japanese roots.
The interface has a matrix design, dividing the menu into six neat touch panels. The various panels allow the user to access messages, contact lists, camera, multimedia, and other features.
The top menu offers an open window to the features of the phone. The other menus too reflect a similar simplicity. For instance, if you want to play a video on the Talby, all you have to do is press the multimedia menu and click the video you want to watch. You can watch the video on a vertical or horizontal plane. This may not sound earth shattering to you, but for Japanese phones, it is a huge step forward.
The phone’s interface is not just about its user-friendly menus. The visuals such as the welcome screen, screensavers, themes, and time displays have color and creativity to them.The design appeal of the phone extends from the menu to the phone’s body as well. When you look at the Talby, your eyes will light up on its wafer-thin, metallic finish. Its slim structure allows you to slip in and slip out the phone from your pockets in absolutely no time. A boon if you consider the overcrowded streets of the tech crazy country.
Dials on the phone are broad, circular, and highly responsive. They come in three different colors: black, orange and green. Set against a silver base, these colors offer a high contrast, classy feel to the phone. Talby was designed in 2004 and has, since then, influenced mobile phone design in Japan and around the world.