Nokia Lumia 820 has a removable shell, and those shells are already available in a wide range of colors. However, with 3D printing slowly gaining popularity, Nokia has introduced a 3D printing kit for this popular phone.
3D printing has been around for quite some time now, and has made surprisingly slow progress when it comes to expanding its own niche. 3D printers are shaped like printers, but they are a manufacturing device. The users instruct the device to produce a product by providing it with detailed schematics, and the printer uses resigns, glues, cellulose, and other material to ‘print out’ (read manufacture) the product.
Through 3D printing, your everyday accessories can be highly customized, and Nokia has seen the potential in this regard. Through the 3D printing kit, Nokia has put the power of design in the hands of the user. Now you can design your own Lumia 820 shell with colors, materials, text etc of your own choice. You could opt for a water proof material, a glow in the dark material, or ordinary plastic. You could choose to leave room for a butter knife or a torch. In other words, you could simply go crazy and design a shell that turns your Lumia 820 into a device from the future; the possibilities are endless.
Nokia aims to cater to put the power in the hands of the users through this step. While 3D printers are not all that common, but this is the first such option available for a smartphone in the market. The 3D printing development kit contains 3D templates, best practices, recommended materials, and case specs. Through 3D printing, a talented designer could develop designs that cater to a local niche market, and a local distributor can then sell those designs in abundance.
The 3D printing kit is aimed at individual users and retailers/distributors alike. While the individual users gain a chance to develop their own custom Lumia 820; distributors can make use of this opportunity to create and sell a wide variety of Lumia 820 shells and make a nice profit.
Although Staples has announced it would start offering 3D printing services to its customers throughout Europe, 3D printers are still uncommon, expensive, and hard to find (in case you are not buying). Furthermore, the material required to build a durable shell for Nokia 820 may not be supported by an ordinary 3D printer.
These two factors make the 3D printing kit a bit of a niche offer; although anyone can download it, but not many will be able to practically use it due to non-availability of 3D printers and materials. The cost associated with 3D printers is also high, so the initiative by Nokia is being dubbed as “ahead of its time” by many critics.
The release of 3D printing kit for Lumia 820 by Nokia is the first step towards empowering users in smartphone designs. In the future, we can expect Apple and Samsung to follow in Nokia’s footsteps.
[Image via whatleydude]