Dec 21 AT 3:54 PM Taylor Wimberly 50 Comments

Samsung Galaxy Nexus designers discuss challenges and breakthroughs

samsung-galaxy-nexus-design

Want to meet the creative minds behind the unique look of the Galaxy Nexus? Company blog Samsung Tomorrow has an excellent interview with product designers TaeJoong Kim and GiYoung Lee, where they share their inspirations for the ergonomic design.

The main goal of the Galaxy Nexus design was to capture the beauty of a magnolia petal as it falls to the ground. Both designers described how they were inspired by nature. GiYoung Lee said, “Before, we tried to take inspiration from polished sports cars and other graceful designs, but then we realized that nature was the source of all inspiration.”

“All the design projects I’m working on take cues from nature,” added TaeJoong Kim.  “Nature is authentic and infinite.”

Kim goes on to say that the designers carefully considered materials they would use for the device. A metallic varnish was chosen to give it a “sense of class” and Soft Feel varnish was used on the back, for improved grip.

Check out the full interview for additional details and let us know what you think of the Galaxy Nexus design. Are you a fan of the curved glass? Do you miss those cumbersome buttons?

The inspiration for the Nexus came from an image of a magnolia petal floating in midair.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Thomas Biard

    These two are becoming internet celebrities with all their Nexus publicity…I hope their career continues to grow so they can continue to provide us with beautiful, functional, outstanding phones.

    • BiGMERF

      while i will say it is a sexy device.. I think the true beauty lies within.. ICS is outstanding

      • Thomas Biard

        I haven’t had the chance to “hands on” experience it, but I def believe it. I don’t care as much about the look of the phone on the outside, but its still nice to carry a beautiful sleek phone. Maybe Day 25 will be a Galaxy Nexus and then you’ll win for the highest rank and you can let me borrow it just to be able to test it?

        • Jorge Eslava

          The Galaxy Nexus doesn’t have a Tegra chip but that is a good idea.

      • LukeT32

        I did a little hands on @ the store. I did miss the hardware buttons, but it would onl ytake awhile to get used too. Only problem is I tell all of my friends who are a little less Android savy to always hit the menu button if they feel like they are missing something or can’t do something from the current screen when they feel like they should be able too.

        • aholland1

          It took some getting used to, but I’ve really come to enjoy this phone. The lack of buttons were a concern at first, but you’d be surprised the menu button still makes an appearance in the form of 3 dots for legacy apps in the bottom right and in the top right when it’s an app updated for ICS.

          It was hard for me to come from an HTC interface being a fan of their work, but beautiful widgets has satiated my home screen weather/clock fix, and there really is no going back once you’ve tasted LTE :) All in all, I’m very happy with the Nexus and it’s performance. I rooted yesterday and am enjoying even more functionality with wireless tether and such.

          It’ll definitely hold me over for a couple of years!

      • Futureboy

        I have to agree. I’ve had the ISC update on the Nexus S for a few days now and I’m still finding wonderful little design gems on a daily basis. It has so much more jam packed into it, and yet it’s much faster and cleaner. Brilliant execution!

  • zyphbear

    A Flower Petal? That is a cool inspiration! Also would easily lend the design to be curved again like the Nexus S.

    • lxgeorge

      I know! After learning that, I can totally see the influence it had on the design; truly a beautiful phone.

      • Andy_jr

        And that image makes more sense now, too.

  • stenzor

    I think the design is beautiful, and hopefully more manufacturers will incorporate a slightly curved screen

  • Skis03

    I love the design they came up with, very creative where it came from too.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    Sweet! I love interviews like these from the official Google folk. So many of us speculate on so many things – it’s great to have some real answers!

  • Cole Loomis

    As an architecture student I always find it interesting to see the aspects behind a design.

  • DRA

    no buttons is the future of android but i still perfer to have buttons

  • triangle

    The phone is beautifully designed with a minimalist look since it doesn’t have buttons. Life without buttons takes a little getting used to, but ICS is a very nice step-up in design and functionality. I love the curved glass, though it is very subtle and hard to really see if you’re not looking for it. I do find that the phone is a little slippery holding it from the sides. Overall, I love the curved and elegant design that is the Galaxy Nexus.

    • Grout

      I have to disagree. As someone who used those buttons every single day and was hesitant about their removal, I can easily say that I adapted immediately. After the first day I was convinced that the buttonless design is a huge improvement.

    • SigInTheHead

      My take on this is that the impact of having soft buttons is greater than not having hardware buttons. By that i mean haven’t once missed the hardware buttons, but when i started using the nexus in a couple of games I hit the software home button in the middle of a race. it was very easy to overcome.

      The preview image makes the phone look much more curved than it is. like others have said, as good looking as the device is, the quality of the screen and ICS really make this phone look amazing.

  • jamal adam

    Nature knows best when it comes to design.

  • Wayne Winkler

    It’s so natural, you don’t even realize the device has a slight curve to it. Interesting read.

  • Billy

    Yeah. I saw the previously and enjoyed it. I shall name my phone the ‘Nexus Petal’. Nature is an amazing source of inspiration and it is amazing the designs that have come from nature throughout the years. Go Design Team!

  • jenskristian

    I love the design of the Galaxy Nexus. Job well done!

  • beatrixasdfghjk.

    Personally, when I played with the phone, I was so overwhelmed by the software that I completely forgot it had a curved screen ;D

    • http://pixelswim.com Steve Heinrich

      The curve looks cool there’s no doubt. But, like you said, the software is the best part. When I went to buy a Nexus S they were pushing the curve of the phone on the product feature page like it was a 90 degree angle. It is so slight you might not even notice it. Still beautiful though.

  • cxandroid

    I’d say they did a great job.

  • crnkoj

    might ask them why they decided for such a huge display/size….

  • Splunge42

    Do these guys do parties?

  • ArticulateFool

    Interesting interview.

    I don’t notice the curved glass of my nexus that much. I definitely dont miss the capacitive buttons at all. That was a very smart move to leave them behind.

    I also love having the unlock button on the side versus the top.

    The one design aspect I dont like is having the headphone jack on the bottom.

    • http://pixelswim.com Steve Heinrich

      Yeah, the capacitive buttons are little bit of a pain on the Nexus S. Not so much for me when I use it, but when I hand my phone to someone to take a picture or something they always hit one of them and are like “woops! what happened”

      • https://plus.google.com/109600738460265587799/posts Lewis McGeary

        Yeah, they can be a pain, same if you’re playing a game or similar where your holding with your thumbs in landscape, got to watch not to hit them.

        My initial dream for ICS on Nexus S was for the capacitive buttons to be completely disabled(including back light, they’re barely visible then) and run ICS fully,would be like smaller Galaxy Nexus. Maybe a ROM can achieve this!

  • GF1Fanatic

    And this is why my Nexus has no case and no screen protector. I don’t want to hide it’s beauty. I love to look at it, feel it, sense it!

    Jonathan Ive, eat your heart out.

  • irishrally

    Remember when HTC used to make the best phones?

  • GNexus

    Sorry, but grip is subpar. The back is very slippery.

  • federalreserve

    Awesome design! Definitely easier to hold than an iPhone. Plus ICS is way more inspired and unified than iOS 5

  • n25philly

    Yet they still couldn’t figure out how to put an sd card slot inside…

  • Marc’us H.

    “All the design projects I’m working on take cues from nature,” added TaeJoong Kim. “Nature is authentic and infinite.”

    Hippie.

    Jokes aside, I finally got my hands on one and it is perhaps the sexiest phone I’ve EVER held… EVER.

  • ramenchef

    Thanks! There’s a lot of great insight into phone design found in this video.

  • Tran Lang

    Watch out! Apple might say Nature is one of their copyright, too.

  • Craig

    It’s just a phone. Still I’m glad people care to this depth of thought. I just want ICS, 4G, dual core & a bigger form factor. The GNex fits the bill.

  • http://www.jimtravis.com jimtravis

    Respect other opinions. I do miss the buttons, on some earlier phones the buttons were difficult to see outside, should have had user adjustable brightness, and Google should have “suggested” the order of the buttons. Not only do I miss buttons, but also prefer physical buttons to the capacitive buttons. Whenever I use one of my older devices with physical buttons and navigation control, I am reminded how much I miss them, and wish my latest gizmo had them.

  • Martjn2

    No buttons and ICS make the front beautiful and i think samsung did a great job with the build quality, its not THAT plasty. ICS <3

  • aykutb

    I don’t know what others think but i definitely would get one if it had a 4″ screen. I hate what became of android industry lately,gigantic devices and all :/

  • fc1032

    I really like the design of the Gnex. But I would have preferred a metal body, even if its slightly heavier, it just feels less fragile.

    I also liked the soft touch teflon on the Nexus one, would have preferred that on the back than that hyperskin thing.

  • donger

    interesting

  • wildkarrde21

    I’m on AT&T, but I’m hopeful the GNex will come over (worst case I’ll look for a deal on the international version). I can’t upgrade until next march, but even though I know there will be phones with better specs and more features, I still want the GNex because of the aesthetic and ergonomic appeal.

  • http://w4tr.com Sean-Franc

    I grew up with a giant Magnolia tree in my yard. Those crazy petals were beautiful in the air… once they hit the ground, they became another leaf for me to rake. I can see a lot of resemblance to the slight curve and smooth styling. I do have to contest that the back of the case on the G-Nex isn’t as velvety smooth as a Magnolia petal. Not even close. Remember how sexy grippy smooth the G1 was?

  • oronm

    WHY IS THE NEXUS GALAXY BIGGER THAN HER ENTIRE HEAD.

    seriously, the phone is huge.

  • humidity

    I can definitely tell a lot of thought went into designing the Galaxy Nexus.

  • psipher

    I usually have my phones wrapped in case, but for the Nexus I might just let it go naked for all the world to see its beauty.

  • staryoshi

    I actually do not care for the curved screen or the size of the phone, I am not too interested in the on-screen buttons, and I feel as though the main reason this phone is popular is because it’s the first to offer ICS and it will do so in vanilla (good) fashion. I believe that software is driving the sale of this phone, not the hardware… but that’s just me. I do not dislike the phone, I am just not in love with it outside of ICS.

  1. These two are becoming internet celebrities with all their Nexus publicity…I hope their career continues to grow so they can continue to provide us with beautiful, functional, outstanding phones.

    • while i will say it is a sexy device.. I think the true beauty lies within.. ICS is outstanding

      • I haven’t had the chance to “hands on” experience it, but I def believe it. I don’t care as much about the look of the phone on the outside, but its still nice to carry a beautiful sleek phone. Maybe Day 25 will be a Galaxy Nexus and then you’ll win for the highest rank and you can let me borrow it just to be able to test it?

      • I did a little hands on @ the store. I did miss the hardware buttons, but it would onl ytake awhile to get used too. Only problem is I tell all of my friends who are a little less Android savy to always hit the menu button if they feel like they are missing something or can’t do something from the current screen when they feel like they should be able too.

        • It took some getting used to, but I’ve really come to enjoy this phone. The lack of buttons were a concern at first, but you’d be surprised the menu button still makes an appearance in the form of 3 dots for legacy apps in the bottom right and in the top right when it’s an app updated for ICS.

          It was hard for me to come from an HTC interface being a fan of their work, but beautiful widgets has satiated my home screen weather/clock fix, and there really is no going back once you’ve tasted LTE :) All in all, I’m very happy with the Nexus and it’s performance. I rooted yesterday and am enjoying even more functionality with wireless tether and such.

          It’ll definitely hold me over for a couple of years!

      • I have to agree. I’ve had the ISC update on the Nexus S for a few days now and I’m still finding wonderful little design gems on a daily basis. It has so much more jam packed into it, and yet it’s much faster and cleaner. Brilliant execution!

  2. A Flower Petal? That is a cool inspiration! Also would easily lend the design to be curved again like the Nexus S.

  3. I think the design is beautiful, and hopefully more manufacturers will incorporate a slightly curved screen

  4. I love the design they came up with, very creative where it came from too.

  5. Sweet! I love interviews like these from the official Google folk. So many of us speculate on so many things – it’s great to have some real answers!

  6. As an architecture student I always find it interesting to see the aspects behind a design.

  7. no buttons is the future of android but i still perfer to have buttons

  8. The phone is beautifully designed with a minimalist look since it doesn’t have buttons. Life without buttons takes a little getting used to, but ICS is a very nice step-up in design and functionality. I love the curved glass, though it is very subtle and hard to really see if you’re not looking for it. I do find that the phone is a little slippery holding it from the sides. Overall, I love the curved and elegant design that is the Galaxy Nexus.

    • I have to disagree. As someone who used those buttons every single day and was hesitant about their removal, I can easily say that I adapted immediately. After the first day I was convinced that the buttonless design is a huge improvement.

    • My take on this is that the impact of having soft buttons is greater than not having hardware buttons. By that i mean haven’t once missed the hardware buttons, but when i started using the nexus in a couple of games I hit the software home button in the middle of a race. it was very easy to overcome.

      The preview image makes the phone look much more curved than it is. like others have said, as good looking as the device is, the quality of the screen and ICS really make this phone look amazing.

  9. Nature knows best when it comes to design.

  10. It’s so natural, you don’t even realize the device has a slight curve to it. Interesting read.

  11. Yeah. I saw the previously and enjoyed it. I shall name my phone the ‘Nexus Petal’. Nature is an amazing source of inspiration and it is amazing the designs that have come from nature throughout the years. Go Design Team!

  12. I love the design of the Galaxy Nexus. Job well done!

  13. Personally, when I played with the phone, I was so overwhelmed by the software that I completely forgot it had a curved screen ;D

    • The curve looks cool there’s no doubt. But, like you said, the software is the best part. When I went to buy a Nexus S they were pushing the curve of the phone on the product feature page like it was a 90 degree angle. It is so slight you might not even notice it. Still beautiful though.

  14. I’d say they did a great job.

  15. crnkojGuest 3 years ago

    might ask them why they decided for such a huge display/size….

  16. Do these guys do parties?

  17. Interesting interview.

    I don’t notice the curved glass of my nexus that much. I definitely dont miss the capacitive buttons at all. That was a very smart move to leave them behind.

    I also love having the unlock button on the side versus the top.

    The one design aspect I dont like is having the headphone jack on the bottom.

    • Yeah, the capacitive buttons are little bit of a pain on the Nexus S. Not so much for me when I use it, but when I hand my phone to someone to take a picture or something they always hit one of them and are like “woops! what happened”

      • Yeah, they can be a pain, same if you’re playing a game or similar where your holding with your thumbs in landscape, got to watch not to hit them.

        My initial dream for ICS on Nexus S was for the capacitive buttons to be completely disabled(including back light, they’re barely visible then) and run ICS fully,would be like smaller Galaxy Nexus. Maybe a ROM can achieve this!

  18. GF1FanaticGuest 3 years ago

    And this is why my Nexus has no case and no screen protector. I don’t want to hide it’s beauty. I love to look at it, feel it, sense it!

    Jonathan Ive, eat your heart out.

  19. Remember when HTC used to make the best phones?

  20. GNexusGuest 3 years ago

    Sorry, but grip is subpar. The back is very slippery.

  21. Awesome design! Definitely easier to hold than an iPhone. Plus ICS is way more inspired and unified than iOS 5

  22. Yet they still couldn’t figure out how to put an sd card slot inside…

  23. “All the design projects I’m working on take cues from nature,” added TaeJoong Kim. “Nature is authentic and infinite.”

    Hippie.

    Jokes aside, I finally got my hands on one and it is perhaps the sexiest phone I’ve EVER held… EVER.

  24. Thanks! There’s a lot of great insight into phone design found in this video.

  25. Watch out! Apple might say Nature is one of their copyright, too.

  26. CraigGuest 3 years ago

    It’s just a phone. Still I’m glad people care to this depth of thought. I just want ICS, 4G, dual core & a bigger form factor. The GNex fits the bill.

  27. Respect other opinions. I do miss the buttons, on some earlier phones the buttons were difficult to see outside, should have had user adjustable brightness, and Google should have “suggested” the order of the buttons. Not only do I miss buttons, but also prefer physical buttons to the capacitive buttons. Whenever I use one of my older devices with physical buttons and navigation control, I am reminded how much I miss them, and wish my latest gizmo had them.

  28. No buttons and ICS make the front beautiful and i think samsung did a great job with the build quality, its not THAT plasty. ICS <3

  29. I don’t know what others think but i definitely would get one if it had a 4″ screen. I hate what became of android industry lately,gigantic devices and all :/

  30. I really like the design of the Gnex. But I would have preferred a metal body, even if its slightly heavier, it just feels less fragile.

    I also liked the soft touch teflon on the Nexus one, would have preferred that on the back than that hyperskin thing.

  31. interesting

  32. I’m on AT&T, but I’m hopeful the GNex will come over (worst case I’ll look for a deal on the international version). I can’t upgrade until next march, but even though I know there will be phones with better specs and more features, I still want the GNex because of the aesthetic and ergonomic appeal.

  33. I grew up with a giant Magnolia tree in my yard. Those crazy petals were beautiful in the air… once they hit the ground, they became another leaf for me to rake. I can see a lot of resemblance to the slight curve and smooth styling. I do have to contest that the back of the case on the G-Nex isn’t as velvety smooth as a Magnolia petal. Not even close. Remember how sexy grippy smooth the G1 was?

  34. WHY IS THE NEXUS GALAXY BIGGER THAN HER ENTIRE HEAD.

    seriously, the phone is huge.

  35. I can definitely tell a lot of thought went into designing the Galaxy Nexus.

  36. I usually have my phones wrapped in case, but for the Nexus I might just let it go naked for all the world to see its beauty.

  37. I actually do not care for the curved screen or the size of the phone, I am not too interested in the on-screen buttons, and I feel as though the main reason this phone is popular is because it’s the first to offer ICS and it will do so in vanilla (good) fashion. I believe that software is driving the sale of this phone, not the hardware… but that’s just me. I do not dislike the phone, I am just not in love with it outside of ICS.