Sony May Replace OmniBalance With ‘Mirai’ Design At MWC 2018

Sony Mobile is planning to scrap its OmniBalance product design philosophy and replace it with a new aesthetic called “Mirai,” one industry insider said on Thursday, adding that the Japanese original equipment manufacturer is preparing to introduce its first Mirai offerings at the next iteration of Mobile World Congress (MWC) which is set to take place next spring in Barcelona, Spain. All of Sony’s smartphones that are coming to MWC 2018 will supposedly follow the Mirai design principles and are being “considered for release” next year, the source said, suggesting that not every device that the company brings to Barcelona may necessarily be commercialized in 2018, or at all.

“Mirai” (未来) is a Japanese word for “future” and does sound like something a major tech giant could pick for the name of its product design philosophy, though it also happens to be the name of a botnet-creating malware which targeted tens of thousands of Linux devices and was directly responsible for several major distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on certain DNS service providers in late 2016. Mirai was used for the high-profile attack on Dyn which brought down a wide variety of popular websites in the United States last fall, consequently prompting a public debate on the (lack of) security practices in the Internet of Things industry.

It’s currently unclear what kind of design principles could Sony’s Mirai philosophy entail, though it’s likely to be a major departure from OmniBalance as it otherwise wouldn’t have warranted a name change. OmniBalance itself values symmetry and minimalism, aiming to deliver devices that are functional and intuitive. Save for minor alterations, Sony has mostly been following the same smartphone design guidelines for half a decade. The Japanese tech giant has recently been rumored to be working on a new bezel-less handset lineup and Mirai seems likely to be related to such products, with virtually all major phone makers now adopting an all-screen design which is often paired with a tall aspect ratio of 18:9, i.e. 2:1. If Sony is to debut some Mirai offerings come MWC 2018 after dispelling rumors of doing so this fall, its new devices may become commercially available by next summer.