Nokia’s 3D Printing Kit Lets Customers to Personalize Lumia Phone
Finnish telecom firm Nokia is embracing 3D printing for to enable mass personalization of its marquee phone, the Lumia Series. The company has launched a 3D printing development kit, or 3DK, and is encouraging people to “hack their phone.”
Nokia published an interview with John Kneeland, a Nokia Community & Developer Marketing Manager based in Silicon Valley, who says, “You want a waterproof, glow-in-the-dark phone with a bottle-opener and a solar charger? Someone can build it for you—or you can print it yourself!”
John, what exactly is the Lumia 820 3D printing community project and what makes it so special?
Nokia’s 3D printing community project is a simple concept with exciting potential. Our Lumia 820 has a removable shell that users can replace with Nokia-made shells in different colors, special ruggedized shells with extra shock and dust protection, and shells that add wireless charging capabilities found in the high-end Lumia 920 to the mid-range 820.
Those are fantastic cases, and a great option for the vast majority of Nokia’s Lumia 820 customers. But in addition to that, we are going to release 3D templates, case specs, recommended materials and best practices—everything someone versed in 3D printing needs to print their own custom Lumia 820 case. We refer to these files and documents collectively as a 3D-printing Development Kit, or 3DK for short. (Editor’s note: They can be found here, here and here.)
In doing this, Nokia has become the first major phone company to begin embracing the 3D printing community and its incredible potential, and continue to be the leading phone company in this exciting field.
I view this as the spiritual successor to the great granddaddy of customizable phones, the Nokia 5110 and its rainbow collection of removable faceplates. To think, it’s been 15 years since the 5110 launched! I still remember using and loving its American cousin, the 5120.
How else is Nokia making use of 3D printing and what opportunities do you specifically see for mobile technology, both now and in the future?
Internally it helps us with rapid prototyping as we, to borrow Stephen Elop’s words, “increase the clock speed of Nokia.” In the future, I envision wildly more modular and customizable phones. Perhaps in addition to our own beautifully-designed phones, we could sell some kind of phone template, and entrepreneurs the world over could build a local business on building phones precisely tailored to the needs of his or her local community. You want a waterproof, glow-in-the-dark phone with a bottle-opener and a solar charger? Someone can build it for you—or you can print it yourself!
Kneeland closes with his thoughts on the 3D printing industry when asked if he believes the hype.
My own view is that the hype is justified, and that 3D printing is indeed A Very Big Deal. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call it the sequel to the Industrial Revolution. However, it’s going to take somewhat longer to arrive than some people anticipate, and that may disappoint people. For now, it’s a bleeding-edge technology for bleeding-edge early adopters—which is exactly where Nokia is aiming its 3D printing community efforts.
Read the full interview at the Nokia community site.