Tamagotchi-Furby-gadgets, especially smartphone, they all can be seen as toys, even though Tamagotchi and Furby are designed for kids, the reason behind our obsession to these toys are similar.
Tamagotchi is a digital thing behind a screen while Furby, is out of the screen with a tangible appearance. They are essentially atoms and bits which mentioned in the last blog, by being designed in creature’s appearance, they abtain the first attraction to kids. Another reason, in my observation, is feedback, which makes them “alive enough” in children’s eyes, “they are alive enough to to be a creature, to need care, to die, to turn into a ghost”. Last, nurturance, they are customizable which makes it belong to you exclusively.
Smartphone is, unlike T&F, not a production of skeuomorphism, actually, they are not similar to any existed creatures, however, their appearance also plays a significant role. The reason behind that, I think, could be fetishism. When I say fetishism, I’m not abstracting its iatric meaning, but our inherent addiction to beautiful artifacts, or even materials. As we know, smartphones are more and more exquisite, they can be seen as a reflection of one country’s capacity of industry design and production, look at those frames of pipeline in the smartphone promotion videos. Material is a vital factor When we are choosing a phone, and we have lots of options now, unique plastic body from Nokia and iphone 5c, elegant all-mental unibody from HTC, customizable body from MOTO X, even leather, cloth, wood and bamboo can be used as the material of a smartphone. System UI is another part of the appearance of smartphone, especially the animation effects, which gives a sence of life to our phones, it’s easy to be ignored but quit important, it makes me associate with animated films, we all know they are unreal, but we still immerse into the dreamland created by them, it’s notably that this immersion happens unconsciously.
Next is the internal reason, feedback. Smartphones are interactive, we click, touch or give them our orders, as a result, we receive feedback, maybe we also consider them as alive creatures subconsciously, just like what kids do toT&F.
What’s more, both the eternal and internal can be customized, along with massive customizable apps, all make your smartphone irreplaceable.
Maybe the only difference between these two relationships is, you don’t have to cry your eyes out when your phone breaks down or being missing, everything is restored there in the cloud, your concentration should be put in selecting another suitable smartphone.