In the fun old days of the Nokia 3310 you could have a different shell for every day of the week. The company is bringing back that custom feel by releasing a kit to allow users with access to a 3D printer or bureau, to make their own unique case design.
Nokia on the Case
We've already highlighted 3D printers as one of the technologies that could break out of the industrial/niche user market in 2013. And, it is gimmicks like this from Nokia that could help the idea, helped in part by several successfully funded Kickstarted 3D printer firms, on its way.
By releasing a "3D-Printing Development Kit", anyone can create their own design on the highly accurate template and get it printed out for them, using a range of suggested or approved materials. The result will fit to the Nokia Lumia 820 like an original and will make your model unique, with messaging or art emblazoned across it.
That could appeal to phone buyers who want to be that little bit different and those who just have to be on the cutting edge. While anyone can pick up a cheap case for almost any phone this adds a small air of exclusivity to the Nokia model, and we will presumably see the feature offered with other types like the Nokia 620 which is already available with seven colors of back panel, although the Nokia 920 doesn't have a removable back, so discount the current high-end model.
Innovating in Three Dimensions
With BlackBerry getting ready for its relaunch, Nokia will need more than this trick to win back some market share and more Windows Phone 8 users, but with sales already on the rise, this move could be one part of a plan to get those on the cutting edge of technology talking about Noka and the Lumia again.
The 3D printers themselves come in either ready to go or kit form for upwards of $1,000. if you don't want the expense, some experimental print shops are using them, or online stores can print out your design for you, and there seems to be one (or more) new 3D printing story hitting the wires every day. For example, you can print out a 3D representation of your Facebook Data.
Your Facebook data in 3D printed form, apparently
Fans of World of Warcraft can have their heroic character avatars printed out and so on, while more productively devices like custom hearing aids, prototype designs and many other areas are making use of the technology. While this is a pretty small offering from Nokia, it could have some interesting effects and others may soon have to follow suit, or adapt their designs to allow this sort of idea.