What if your smartphone was a bag? Honor turns the phone into a wearable

The brand’s new foldable phone concept is designed to be worn and offers a high level of personalization through interchangeable displays, such as the one crafted by the renowned Chinese artist Xiao Hui Wang, whom Domus met.

Introducing the Honor V Purse, the latest concept phone from the popular tech brand, which seamlessly combines fashion and art. Unveiled at IFA in Berlin, this innovative device draws inspiration from today’s fashion trends, particularly handbags. It comes equipped with a range of accessories like straps and chains, making it not only portable but also highly wearable. What sets it apart is the eye-catching feature of interchangeable, always-on displays. These displays can replicate the pattern of a real handbag, as well as landscapes or figures. Of course, users can change these displays to match the time of day, the outfit and such like.

In recent years, we’ve witnessed the rise of a new trend – carrying our phones over our shoulders using special cases. But this trend still features a black screen or, at best, the minimalistic lines of the familiar always-on displays. Honor aims to break the mold by transforming the phone's screen into a powerful and personal feature. In this innovative concept, the screen extends beneath an elegant frame that houses the cameras. These displays can come to life as the phone moves and reacts to its environment, creating lifelike effects, based on data from the gyroscope or light sensor, and allowing designers to unleash their creativity.

“The future of fashion is digital”, states Giles Deacon, one of the fashion figures enlisted by Honor for this significant launch, coinciding with that of the Honor Magic V2 – the world’s thinnest foldable phone, measuring less than one centimeter in thickness. Domus digital platforms have consistently explored the convergence of fashion and technology, undoubtedly fueled by the hype surrounding the metaverse. In this specific case, technology takes cues from the fashion world, even integrating sustainable materials.

You’ve always used your phone for a function, like texting or emailing, but new technologies transcend these functions.

Xiao Hui Wang

This is a bold move for Honor, as it firmly establishes its presence in the creative arena. As the company’s head of marketing, Guo Rui, was quick to point out during a panel held in Berlin in conjunction with the unveiling of the Magic V Purse, art and design are essential assets for Honor.

This is exemplified by the Honor Talents Global Design Awards, initiated in 2020 and encompassing over 40 countries and 160 universities, all united under the motto “inspire the future”. During the panel, multimedia artist Yunuen Esparza, known for her recent focus on augmented reality projects, unveiled the two displays she crafted for the Magic V Purse. One display drew inspiration from her native Mexico, while the other drew from the Indonesian region of Bali.

Esparza is a judge at Honor Talents, alongside Chinese interdisciplinary artist Xiao Hui Wang, who also has a deep connection with Honor, as she tells Domus in German – she divides her time between China, where two museums bear her name in Shanghai and Suzhou, and Germany. “You’ve always used your phone for a function, like texting or emailing”, the artist explains, “but new technologies transcend these functions”. The result is devices that offer entirely different experiences. And completely different ways of experiencing them. And wearing them.

For the display she designed for the V Purse, Wang drew inspiration from Chinese philosophy, specifically the complementary concepts of yin and yang: the always-on image displayed on the outside of the phone is appropriate for a fast-paced, social world where staying trendy and alert is essential. But when the smartphone is unfolded, it immerses the user in a more intimate sphere. Not surprisingly, this display – a work of art in its own right – is called Deep Breath. If Honor’s gamble proves to be on point, we are sure to see many more in the future.

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