After the sketch-overlay and technical-design phases, AMOI provides a 3-D model. In the nine months that follow, the shape is subject to intensive prototyping before delivery to the factory line. “We have to test the user interface against the design we have,” says Johnstone. The team at HWL envisions every single motion a person might go through with their phone in excruciating detail–looking up a contact, sending a text message, making a call.
Two key innovations become reality. The first is an aluminum battery case that adheres magnetically to the back of the phone. “There was extra cost associated,” says Johnstone, “but it was certainly worth it.” The second is a multitasking-friendly function-flip button placed on the side of the phone next to the screen in “an ergonomically sensible place.” The button flips through open applications like pages in a magazine, letting you talk, chat, and text at the same time. “At about four months we get our first working phone,” says Johnstone, “and that’s exciting. We start sharing it around internally, letting users try it out. For us, this was a highlight because the response was so positive.”