24 August 2010

Filofax Organisers of the Future?

Interesting the comments from Monday's post about the 'restyle' But as usual it got me thinking this morning whilst in the shower (I do most of my creative thinking in the shower... ok too much detail!!!)

What will a Filofax of the Future look like?

Will we still be wanting leather or faux leather covers in 2035? Or will the Filofax of the future be made out of something different?

Leather I know is a good traditional material and will last for years and years if looked after and kept in normal room temperature and humidity. As it ages it becomes more supple and some will say it looks better with age.

With new materials being developed and dare I mention it... flexible electronics being incorporated in to clothing, I wonder if we might see the same sort of electronics in our organisers of the future.

Now I'm not going to suggest building phones or PDA's in to your Filofax organisers, but I wonder about technologies that could be built in that would work along side mobile phones and other portable devices? May be an organiser with the back cover incorporating a solar cell for cellphone charging? Whilst your phone is sat by your organiser on your desk you could connect your phone up to the charging lead and give it a quick boost charge may be. The same feature could be used for charging your iPod as well.

Filofax UK carried out a competition recently of a Filofax of the Future, one of the entries included flash memory media player. But as we carry more and more electronic storage in our pockets, in the form of USB memory keys or in our phones or iPods, would you sensibly want 4GB of storage built in to your organiser for whatever purpose, when in a couple of years time the norm will be 16, 32 64GB?? File sizes keep increasing not decreasing... which is sad in some ways.

My Psion organiser with it's 16Mb of storage dates back to 1999, yet it can perform most tasks. Going back even further in time, I previously used a Casio Digital Diary in the early 1990's it has all of 32k yet I managed all my contacts and appointments on both of these devices, and still could!! Yet my Nokia phone as 2GB of storage and that's fairly small by today's standards

Note I'm not suggesting building these devices in to the organiser itself. As memory sizes increase so the size of the devices seems to get smaller. I don't think any of these technologies will be around as we know them today in 5, 10 or 20 years time... What is the life span of a current Filofax organiser? That is a topic for another day I suspect....

So would you want something like a carbon fibre covered organiser with some clever hinge technology to ensure the organiser laid flat when you opened it?

Personally I think I would prefer what we have today....traditional good quality leather, at least we know what that will be like in 25 years time.....



  1. Steve!

    Why should a traditional brand like Filofax try to compete with giant electronic manufacturers? The Filo should be offered as a paper based tool which has several advantages against electronics.

    Nevertheless: With form factors of electronic devices getting more and more compact there could be inserts like the change holder of the 80-s offering digital functionality such as GPS or video conferencing.

    The big question will be, however: How big is the demand for digital Filofax inserts? In electronics, high volumes count in order to refinance development expenses.

    Best from Germany,


  2. I agree with the concept that Filofax should stick with their paper-based system. The more technological the world becomes, the more something "analog" like paper & ink makes sense for its reliability, anonymity and simplicity.

    As for the Filo of the future, I would like to see more use of recycled materials, vegan friendly cover material and a definite swing toward sustainability.

    Not to mention better shipping methods...

  3. Could a Filo be any more "future-proof" than they already are?

    Ten years from now a USB port may be as hard to find as a 8 track player.

    Pen and paper are in no danger of going out of style anytime soon.

    Besides, writing is a tactile experience. Using a nice pen, with fine paper in a good binder is right up there with chocolate when it comes to being one of the really good things in life.

  4. I love my new IPad and wish there was a filofax cover for it, and I use an iphone and wish it would fit into my filofax...its true I don't care to type all my notes into a "device" and wouldn't mind just jotting down a note on paper in a filofax, but it'd be a great thing if my filofax took care of my iPad.

  5. Filofax has made some models with PDA holders included in the cover -- don't know if they went over very well but I've seen them on eBay.

    It's interesting to hear about devices like the Psion and Casio organizers. I still use my Casio Cassiopeia to house my main address book. Don't know how old it is, but it has 4 MB and you can hand-write notes on the screen with a stylus. Have replaced the AAA batteries a couple of times and it's still going strong.

  6. Steve I love this post! It's fun to think of how Filofax will adapt in the future.

    I think they should retain their "retro" or by then "antique" ways of primarily being paper based, but I think they will adapt to modern ways too perhaps by incorporating technology into the binders.

  7. Steve,

    Great post (again)! I just can't stop reading through Philofaxy from beginning to end. Ever thought of publishing a book?

    I for my part firmly believe that in the future there will be a class of Filofaxes that will still look like the one that is sitting on the revered readers desk right now. BUT: it will be able to transfer your notes onto your computer, tablet, mobile phone, whatever. Either by Bluetooth or NFC or WiFi. It still would feel and look analog, but would tie into your digital network.

    The contents you write into your Filofax will be easily searchable and shareable once transferred to your Laptop etc.

    And if you think this is Sci-Fi, have a look at the Livescribe pens. (www.livescribe.com)

    If you're willing to take it a step further, I would suggest a always on Internet connection and a fold out page "Internet" behaving just like a browser window, using electronic ink and allowing you to navigate it with your pen and write into it with handwriting recognition. I could imagine a subscription model like for the Amazon Kindle.

    However, that would take a big deal of the charm of the paper based organizers away and it would suffer from the same problems the iOS or Android devices of today do. Not enough focus.

    But it sure wouldn't hurt companies like Filofax to show they can still innovate and there sure would be a market for the kind of services I describe.

    Sidenote: my history of personal digital organizers went from several battery driven databases a la Casio, 1996 an Apple Newton 120 which I had until 2000 when it made way for a Newton 2100. Then came a Handsrping Visor Edge, a Palm Tungsten, Palm Tungsten E, Ericsson MC218, SonyEricsson M600i, P1i (very short), Samsung SGH-i600, Blackberry Bold 9000, iPhone 3GS (today). I still have the Newton 120 for sentimental reasons and it still works like a charm!

  8. Rene
    Thank you... you might find this post useful...