Modern smartphones still use 90s-era vibration technology.
Looking back mobile technology has improved a lot: the screen, the keypad, the internet connectivity, the OS; but do you remember the days when you felt your pocket vibrate and you knew somebody rung you or texted you?
Nowadays a vibration in your pocket could be an email, a tweet, a follow, a like, a new friend on facebook, etc. Your iPhone and Android are in a way even less user-friendly than your old Nokia. Often you need to take your phone out of your pocket to find out whether it’s a spam email in your inbox or a text from your significant other. You might check the settings and see that there is an option to choose different vibration patterns but is that really it?
In order to reduce unwanted distractions and to increase the usability of our devices we should ensure that the connection we have to a phone is not just audio and visual but also touch.
Phone manufacturer’s could be using multiple motors across the back of the phone to give a spatial quality or changing the pattern, speed or intensity of the vibration in a way that differentiates different communication. A message from your best friend should feel qualitatively different to you than one from a blocked number. We could have recognisable defaults. Then your phone would be a true extension to your body.