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3/28/2007
01:16 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Zen And The Art Of Kyocera Maintenance

Yesterday evening at CTIA Wireless, Kyocera invited a select group of tech journalists to a small cocktail reception with the express purpose of showing off its new direction. Based on the short presentations from its marketing and design heads, its evident that Kyocera wants to reinvent itself and start standing toe to toe with the bigger, mor

Yesterday evening at CTIA Wireless, Kyocera invited a select group of tech journalists to a small cocktail reception with the express purpose of showing off its new direction. Based on the short presentations from its marketing and design heads, its evident that Kyocera wants to reinvent itself and start standing toe to toe with the bigger, more well-known handset makers. Kyocera's new slogan, Tomorrow is Rising, leads its push to be associated with its Japanese roots. Heck, they even served us sushi and sake.The former handset division of Qualcomm has definitely made strides in the 18 months that design head Frank Tyneski has been with the company. Those strides have been toward the East, with Japanese and Zen-inspired design and marketing cues featured prominently across Kyocera collateral. Frank may be a soft-spoken fellow, but his vision is certainly unique. He's the recipient of numerous design awards and has more than 50 design patents to his name. Based on some concept phones that were part of Frank's presentation, it's obvious he's assembled a solid team of forward-thinking designers.

Stopping by the Kyocera booth, you're greeted with a very Japanese-esque overall theme, with imagery that somehow felt at peace amidst the clamor of the show floor. At the booth they're showing off the first wave of products to come to market under Tyneski's supervision, and my fellow blogger, Stephen Wellman, mentioned how beautiful the E5000 is, with its unique "s" hinge. It truly is a joy to look at, and the hinge is far stronger than you might think.

Part of Tyneski's philosophy is to have designers and engineers work together to solve problems, rather than pass designs back and forth between the two until a phone comes to fruition. By tasking them to solve the engineering issues creatively, he's spurred a new frame of mind for the company.

The 'Tomorrow is Rising' slogan obviously plays off Japan's 'Rising Sun' emblems and national character. The entire philosophy is laid out nicely in Kyocera's new manifesto.

"In Japan, it's already tomorrow. The sun has risen. And the light is spreading. New ideas have stirred. Awoken. And they're already on their way. Our day is starting. Your tomorrow is here. Kyocera - Tomorrow is Rising."

Marketing mumbo-jumbo or not, tomorrow is truly rising with Kyocera. And as one of the booth staffers said to me, "Kyocera is growing up."

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