Meet Mozilla's fledgling Seabird

Mobile phone development is going at full pace right now, in just about any place and any level you can imagine. So it isn’t surprising to see that Mozilla is getting its webbed feet wet with Seabird, a concept mobile phone.

A while back Mozilla called on its loyal followers to come up with innovative design concepts for an Open Web phone. Billy May, a member of the Mozilla Labs community and designer-at-large submitted a first attempt in early 2009 that dictated that a user’s greatest challenge is interacting with their devices.

With performance and features on the up, physical interaction other than swiping fingers at a huge (and rather fragile) touchscreen is still limited. So now, with a whole lot of spit and polish, the Seabird concept phone has landed.

Not a bad looking bird, is it?

The curvy concept phone packs a touchscreen interface in a sleek design, but if you’re want to stretch your fingers, two pico projectors on either side of the phone can be used to display video or as a very clever keyboard projection device that will allow you full keyboard interactivity

Laying the phone flat on its back, it will project half a keyboard on either side, allowing you to tap away on virtual keys at the speed of a regular PC keyboard, or, on top of a dock, it would project the screen display and a full keyboard to the sides.

The device is otherwise a very decent attempt and a huge eye-opener for handset-makers’ top brass teams who probably shoot down ideas like this from their own design teams all the time. At least on this one the community is outspoken enough

As Mozilla puts it, it doesn’t have plans to produce an OS or hardware of this type at the moment, it’s happy enough to have Firefox for Mobile in just enough handsets.

We wouldn’t mind seeing Billy May’s design getting picked up by an HTC or Nokia, even, as both companies would benefit by stepping away from their current designs. On the other hand, mobile phone makers are experts at killing innovation, especially if there is no surprise element to score points at launch.

You can find the design concept at Mozilla Labs.