This year BQ launched the Aquaris X5, our first smartphone with a premium design and metal frame.
Due to its distinctive design, the creative stage in the design of the X5 was particularly important. “The phone we all carry in our pockets is not just a true feat of engineering, it is the result of significant work in design and creativity”, explained Rodrigo del Prado, Assistant Director of BQ.
From the first paper designs to the final coverings used, “a whole design team works to make the device look good, both inside and out”, added del Prado.
3D inspiration and modelling
The manufacture of the device begins with a meeting to determine the technical aspects and general characteristics of the new smartphone. At this point, the product design team will begin working on the creative concepts. “We research current trends, we look at shapes, textures and possible colours, and we put all of our ideas onto a whiteboard” explained Julen Pejenaute, from the Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design department.
At the end of this stage, they put their ideas down onto paper. 3D printing is then used to get an initial model. All of these designs are made into mockups, life-size models of the device used to evaluate the design.
This process was especially significant in the case of the X5 model, as it involved a radical change of direction in terms of design.
The properties of metal
We used manufacturing techniques including injection moulding, die casting and nano moulding technology (NMT). NMT allowed the metal and polymer to be joined with no additional elements, giving a compact metal design. The final result of these concepts, materials and shapes is a combination of technical and human aspects.
The use of metal has also allowed us to offer a wider range of colours: anthracite grey + black, rose gold + white, or silver grey + white. “We treat any product as the sum of many aspects: technical specs, finishes, colours, feel and ergonomics”, explained Yuri Sviridov, art director.
All of these aesthetic ideas need to be functional and to combine seamlessly with the device’s hardware. The processor, battery, microphones, SIM cards and other components take up space. As such, the selection and distribution of these components inside the smartphone need to be carefully considered.
Fitting all of these parts together was an essential part of the process, and perhaps one of the most complex. In the case of the X5, this stage was fundamental.
Once both the interior and exterior of the device have been defined, other departments and technical teams can then take on the task of creating the first prototypes and continuing the development process until the product is launched.
This process requires many man-hours but it allows us to create excellent-quality phones with premium designs, as is the case with the Aquaris X5.