iPhone and Samsung GalaxyWhy does someone choose a white phone and someone else opts for black? And who the hell chooses a brown phone?

I’m sure there are extended studies lurking in the bowels of Apple’s databanks. But I found myself looking at my black iPhone and my wife’s new white Samsung and wondering what those colors say about the device to each of us.

To me, the white phone seems like either an appliance or a personal fashion accessory. An odd dichotomy to be sure.

On the appliance side, the Samsung feels medical. I’d expect it to check my blood sugar level or to know my weight automatically. And that may reflect the intention of home medical devices to appear approachable and friendly, without losing the professionalism and the sterile look of a clean white object.

On the fashion side, it reminds me of a woman’s compact or a piece of plastic jewelry, like a chunky bakelite bracelet.

And, finally, there’s the sheer hipster coolness quality: “Everybody gets the black one. I’ll differentiate myself and get a white one.”

The black iPhone, on the other hand, reminds me of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Smooth and sleek. Carved from a slab of obsidian, with its shiny black face and its flat, rectangular form. As with a black car, its high polish becomes more noticeable — and shows every imperfection. Luckily, these are virtually nonexistent, given designer Jony Ive‘s obsessive attention to detail, fit and finish.

In use, however, the black phone disappears. The brightly lit display becomes the entire focus. It seems to me that the black phone is all about the power of the computer inside, whereas the white phone is all about the object itself — visible and noticeable, like the original iPod with its bright white earbuds.

I’m curious to know if you have a white phone, a black phone, or some other color, and to find out what its color means to you. Feel free to leave a comment.