What makes Steampunk great is that imagines how the evolution of technology could have turned out different. These designs for cell phones provide a perfect example.
They’re designed by a Zagreb, Croatia-based artist named Ivan Mavrovic. Instead of the slick LCDS we’re used to seeing in the 21st Century, these designs invoke the elegance and style of the Victorian era, or at least the way we imagin it. Instead of plastic, these phones are made out of metal, and would probably feel hefty if you could actually touch them. If you want to really impress people beyong carrying an iPhone or an Android phone, why not whip something that might have been carried by a Jules Verne character instead.
What Steampunk shows is that the way things have turned out isn’t nearly the only way they could have gone. It’s fun to imagine what life might have been like if we’d kept the aesthetics of the 19th Century but still had modern technology like cell phones. Steampunk shows how are ideas about what kinds of designs are approriate is arbitray and that other ways of imagining technology are possible.