Square corners

As a design element, we noticed the corners on some of the year's hot new devices and software going square, a stylistic shift away from, well, just about every phone ever.

Wireless charging on the Nokia Lumia 920
The Nokia Lumia 920 hardware and the Windows Phone 8 software it carries both use the square corners that are the new fashion in mobile. Josh Miller/CNET

In 2012, technology design went square, and I don't mean boring. Rather, the past year signaled a shift to sharp 90-degree angles as a design element. By itself, that change may not seem significant, but when you consider that so much in tech -- from hardware to software to Web design -- was built on the concept of rounded corners, you see that it is a notable design shift. Apple didn't follow the pack (Steve Jobs wasn't a fan of square corners), but plenty of its rivals did.

Microsoft was the biggest promoter of square corners, not only in the Metro interface of Windows 8, but also in the tiles of Windows Phone and in the physical design of the Nokia Lumia devices. And elsewhere, square corners dominated in the slight redesign of Google Drive, the Android Jelly Bean user interface, and many a slablike Android phone.

Go back to the CNET 100

Featured Video

Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?

Cities are full of cars like the Subaru XV that can drive off-road but will never see any challenging terrain. What drives us to buy cars with these abilities when we don't really need them most of the time?

by Drew Stearne