Introduction

Consider these two rather large numbers. There are approximately seven billion inhabitants of planet earth. With an estimated four and half billion users of mobile devices (against a larger number of six and a half billion subscriptions – obviously a number of people have multiple subscriptions).

Even considering that some people have multiple phone connections, it is still incredible that the majority of human beings on our planet own a mobile handset – across all geographies, cultures and societies. The ability to connect to people and information, wherever you are and whenever you want to, is bringing into reality the concept of the global village and a shared humanity. Yet at least as amazing, is the fact that this ubiquitous product is also the world’s most advanced consumer electronics product ever. It is small, light, portable and affordable to most people. It can perform ever more functions, with increasing performance.

How is this possible and how has this come to be?

What really is involved in designing and bringing to market both the inner technology and the final desirable mobile handsets?

How can new products be developed so quickly, and why are there so many to choose between?

Essentials of Mobile Handset Design is aimed at anyone who is curious about such questions, yet has limited time to invest. You can easily read and finish our book over a weekend if you need a lot of knowledge quickly, or you can dip in and out of the book to gain insight into particular areas as you need them.

One of the takeaways of our book is that such is the complexity of the technology, the industry and the global market, that no one can claim to be truly an expert of it all. Rather it is by many thousands of talented designers, engineers, marketers and others bringing their expertise together and working well together as teams, organisations, industries and ecosystems that the phenomenon which is the mobile handset is possible. To do this well requires an understanding and appreciation of the design challenges between different disciplines, and the ability to take a holistic view of the whole design process and value chain. Our aim therefore is not to make you an expert, but rather to raise your general level of knowledge and understanding of what is involved in the design of a mobile handset as well as the level of communication and partnerships needed to achieve success.

During the writing of the book, we had several discussions on the use of the term ‘handset’ as opposed to any other term such as mobile phone or cell phone or connected device, particularly as new classes of portable devices enter the market such as tablets, ereaders and the like. One piece of long term research suggests that our mobile handsets could even become a tiny implant in the future, so perhaps we should call it a headset rather than a handset? For simplicity and consistency we settled on using the term “mobile handset” throughout the book to refer to all types of cellular device, irrespective of form-factor, market or geography.

We trust that you will enjoy reading the book as much as we enjoyed writing it!

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