Form factor (mobile phones)

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The form factor of a mobile phone is its size, shape, and style, as well as the layout and position of its major components.

Form factor (design) aspect of design which defines the size, shape, and other physical specifications of hardware

Form factor is an aspect of hardware design which defines and prescribes the size, shape, and other physical specifications of components, particularly in consumer electronics and electronic packaging. A form factor may represent a broad class of similarly sized components, or it may prescribe a specific standard.

Smartphone Multi-purpose mobile device

Smartphones are a class of mobile phones and of multi-purpose mobile computing devices. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems, which facilitate wider software, internet, and multimedia functionality, alongside core phone functions such as voice calls and text messaging. Smartphones typically include various sensors that can be leveraged by their software, such as a magnetometer, proximity sensors, barometer, gyroscope and accelerometer, and support wireless communications protocols such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and satellite navigation.

Contents

With one non-movable section

Bar

A bar (also known as a slab, block, candybar) phone takes the shape of a cuboid, [1] usually with rounded corners and/or edges. The name is derived from the rough resemblance to a chocolate bar in size and shape. This form factor is widely used by a variety of manufacturers, such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson. Bar-type smartphones commonly have the screen and keypad on a single face. Sony had a well-known 'Mars Bar' phone model CM-H333 in 1993. [2]

In geometry, a cuboid is a convex polyhedron bounded by six quadrilateral faces, whose polyhedral graph is the same as that of a cube. While mathematical literature refers to any such polyhedron as a cuboid, other sources use "cuboid" to refer to a shape of this type in which each of the faces is a rectangle ; this more restrictive type of cuboid is also known as a rectangular cuboid, right cuboid, rectangular box, rectangular hexahedron, right rectangular prism, or rectangular parallelepiped.

Chocolate bar Confection of containing sweetened chocolate in oblong or rectangular form

A chocolate bar or candy bar is a confection in an oblong or rectangular form containing chocolate, which may also contain layerings or mixtures that include nuts, fruit, caramel, nougat, and wafers. A wide variety of chocolate bar brands are sold. A popular example is a Snickers bar, which consists of nougat mixed with caramel and peanuts.

Nokia Finnish technology corporation

Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational telecommunications, information technology, and consumer electronics company, founded in 1865. Nokia's headquarters are in Espoo, in the greater Helsinki metropolitan area. In 2018, Nokia employed approximately 103,000 people across over 100 countries, did business in more than 130 countries, and reported annual revenues of around €23 billion. Nokia is a public limited company listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. It is the world's 415th-largest company measured by 2016 revenues according to the Fortune Global 500, having peaked at 85th place in 2009. It is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index.

Keyboard bars

These are variants of bars that have a full QWERTY keyboard on the front. While they are technically the same as a regular bar phone, the keyboard and all the buttons make them look significantly different. Devices like these were popular in the mid- to late-2000s, but lost popularity afterwards. The BlackBerry line from Research In Motion (RIM) was particularly popular and influential in this category.

QWERTY keyboard layout where the first line is "QWERTYUIOP"

QWERTY is a keyboard design for Latin-script alphabets. The name comes from the order of the first six keys on the top left letter row of the keyboard. The QWERTY design is based on a layout created for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to E. Remington and Sons in 1873. It became popular with the success of the Remington No. 2 of 1878, and remains in ubiquitous use.

BlackBerry line of wireless handheld devices and services

BlackBerry smartphones, tablets, and services were originally designed and marketed by Canadian company BlackBerry Limited. These are currently designed, manufactured, and marketed by TCL Communication, BB Merah Putih, and Optiemus Infracom for the global, Indonesian, and South Asian markets (respectively) using the BlackBerry brand under license.

Brick

"Brick" is a slang term used to refer to large, outdated rectangular phones, typically early devices with large batteries and electronics. Such early phones, such as the Motorola DynaTAC, have been displaced by newer smaller models which offer greater portability thanks to smaller antennas and slimmer battery packs.

Motorola DynaTAC first certificated mobile phone model

DynaTAC is a series of cellular telephones manufactured by Motorola, Inc. from 1983 to 1994. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X commercial portable cellular phone received approval from the U.S. FCC on September 21, 1983. A full charge took roughly 10 hours, and it offered 30 minutes of talk time. It also offered an LED display for dialing or recall of one of 30 phone numbers. It was priced at $3,995 in 1984, its commercial release year, equivalent to $9,634 in 2018. DynaTAC was an abbreviation of "Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage."

However, "brick" has more recently been applied to older phone models in general, including non-bar form factors (flip, slider, swivel, etc.), and even early touchscreen phones as well, due to their size and relative lack of functionality compared to current models on the market. [3] [4] [5]

The term "brick" has also expanded beyond smartphones to include most non-working consumer electronics, including a game console, router, or other device, that, due to a serious misconfiguration, corrupted firmware, or a hardware problem, can no longer function, hence, is as technologically useful as a brick. [6] The term derives from the vaguely cuboid shape of many electronic devices (and their detachable power supplies) and the suggestion that the device can function only as a lifeless, square object, paperweight or doorstop. This term is commonly used as a verb. For example, "I bricked my MP3 player when I tried to modify its firmware." It can also be used as a noun, for example, "If it's corrupted and you apply using fastboot, your device is a brick." In the common usage of the term, "bricking" suggests that the damage is so serious as to have rendered the device permanently unusable. [7]

Slate

A slate is a smartphone form with few to no physical buttons, instead relying upon a touchscreen and an onscreen keyboard. [8] The first commercially available touchscreen phone was a brick phone, the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, released in 1994. [9] The iPhone, which was released in 2007, is largely responsible for the influence and achievement of this design as it is currently conceived.

Some unusual "slate" designs include that of LG New Chocolate (BL40), or the Samsung Galaxy Round, which is curved.

Phablet

The phablet or smartlet is a subset of the slate/touchscreen. A portmanteau of the words phone and tablet, phablets are a class of mobile device designed to combine or straddle the size of a slate smartphone together with a tablet. Phablets typically have screens that measure (diagonally) greater than 5.3 inches, and are considerably larger than most high-end slate smartphones of the time (i.e. the Samsung Galaxy Note II smartlet versus the Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone), which have to be 5.2 inches or less to be known as a smartphone, though significantly smaller than tablets (which must be 7 inches or above to be considered as such).

Multi-screen

The multi-screen is of basically the slate form factor, but with two touchscreens.

Some have a small separate screen above the main screens, the LG V10 and LG V20.

Other multi-screen form factors has screens on both sides of the phone. In the case of Yotaphone and Siam 7X, they have normal touchscreens on the front, but on the backside is an e-ink screen, which enables using the cases in a fashion similar to reading a book.

The presence of the front camera for taking selfies has been an essential feature in smartphones, however, it is a difficulty to achieve a bezelless screen as is the trend in the later 2010s. The Nubia X, Nubia Z20 and Vivo NEX Dual Display have solved this combining the use of the main camera and a smaller second rear screen, eliminating the front camera. [10] [11] [12]

Taco

The taco form factor was popularized by the Nokia N-Gage, released in 2003. It was widely known as the plastic taco for its taco-shape and the placement of microphones on the side of the device, which, when one talks into the microphone, gives the appearance of eating a taco. [13] Other models include Nokia 3300 and Nokia 5510.

Wearables

Smartwatch

A smartphone in the form of a wristwatch is typically referred to as a smartwatch or watch phone.

Wrapped-around display

Xiaomi revealed Mi MIX Alpha, a smartphone with a display that surrounds almost entirely its body, only interrupted in the back part by a column that contains the cameras. Back part of display can be used as viewfinder for selfies and videocalls. [14] [15]

With movable sections

Flip

A flip or clamshell phone consists of two or more sections that are connected by hinges, allowing the phone to flip open then fold closed in order to become more compact. When flipped open, the phone's screen and keyboard are available. When flipped shut, the phone becomes much smaller and more portable than when it is opened for use.

Motorola was once owner of a trademark for the term flip phone, [16] but the term flip phone has become genericized and used more frequently than clamshell in colloquial speech. Motorola was the manufacturer of the famed StarTAC flip phone in the 1990s, as well as the RAZR in the mid-2000s. There were also flip "down" phones, like the Motorola MicroTAC series and was also widely used by Ericsson.

In 2010, Motorola introduced a different kind of flip phone with its Backflip smartphone. When closed, one side is the screen and the other is a physical QWERTY keyboard. The hinge is on a long edge of the phone instead of a short edge, and when flipped out the screen is above the keyboard.

Another unusual flip form was seen on the luxury Serene, a partnership between Samsung and Bang & Olufsen.

Clamshell came to be used as generic for this form factor. Flip phone referred to phones that opened on the vertical axis. As clamshells disappeared from the market, the terms again became disambiguated.

By the mid-2000s, "flip" designs reached the peak of their availability and declined afterwards, being replaced by sliders which in turn were completely replaced by slate smartphones.

Dual-touchscreen

In April 2011, Kyocera International released the Kyocera Echo smartphone with two 3.5" screens. The phone's primary display could lay on top of the second display, reducing its size. [17] In November 2017, ZTE announced the Axon M. The screens could fold to either have two forward facing screens, or one forward and one rear facing screen. [18] The combined display size is 6.75-inch when unfolded. [19] The second screen allows the Axon M's single camera to be both rear and forward facing, as well as acting as a kickstand or tripod. [20]

Foldable screen

Due to advances in display technology, as of 2010s, OLED screens can be manufactured on a flexible, plastic substrate. Glass is no longer needed, allowing the displays to be rolled, bent and folded. This makes new form factors possible in mobile phones. In September 2017, Samsung confirmed a new series of foldable smartphone. [21] In November 2018, it is revealed that the new phone—Samsung Galaxy Fold's [22] combined display size is 7.4-inch. [23] Other manufacturers, such as Huawei and Xiaomi have also announced phones with foldable displays. [24] [25]

Flip up Camera

Asus, in the Zenfone 6 smartphone, manages to implement an all screen front, prescinding from a dedicated selfie camera, thanks to main cameras are housed in a motorized flip-up module, that rotates 180 degrees to focus the front part. [26] [27]

Slider

A slider is composed of usually two, but sometimes more, sections that slide past each other on rails. Most slider phones have a display segment which houses the device's screen, while another segment contains the keypad or keyboard and slides out for use. The goal of a sliding form factor is to allow the operator to take advantage of full physical keyboards or keypads, without sacrificing portability, by retracting them into the phone when they are not in use. Many different companies have developed smartphones that slide: Samsung has the Corby and BlackBerry has the Torch.

The Siemens SL10 was one of the first slider smartphones in 1999. [28] Some phones have an automatic slider built in that deploys the keypad. Many phones pop out their keypad segments as soon as the user begins to slide the phone apart. Unique models are the 2-way slider where sliding up or down provides distinct functions: the Nokia N85 or Nokia N95 are examples of this.

A version of the slider form factor, the side slider or QWERTY slider, uses vertical access of the keyboard on the bottom segment. The side slider form factor is primarily used to facilitate faster access to the keyboard with both thumbs. The Motorola Photon Q, Danger Hiptop, Sony Mylo, and HTC Touch Pro are four primary examples.

Some unusual sliders have also been made, such as the Nokia 7280 modelled like a lipstick, or the Samsung SGH-F520 from 2007 which slides two ways with a QWERTY keyboard.

Sliders supplanted the flip form, since they allowed manufacturers to pack more keypad buttons and features (especially the side slider or QWERTY slider) into the same form factor, while touchscreen interfaces were still in their infancy. By the late-2000s, "slider" designs reached the peak of their popularity and declined afterwards, being completely replaced by slate form factors with well-developed touch interfaces. In 2015, BlackBerry Limited (previously RIM) released the BlackBerry Priv, the first mainstream slider phone in several years (based on Android, not the Blackberry operating system they sold so far). [29]

As 2018, manufacturers are trying to develop bezelless smartphones, being the greatest difficulty the presence of front cameras and face recognition sensors, while most brands expand display real state conserving a notch, some departs from that approach returning to the slider form factor, [30] in models like Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, [31] [32] Huawei Honor Magic 2 [33] [34] and Lenovo Z5 Pro. [35]

Pop up camera

Phones like Oppo Find X [36] and Vivo Nex [37] hide front cameras within the body of the devices in motorized pop-up modules to create a bezelless front face fully occupied by screens without any cutout while keeping a front-facing camera that can up when required. Vivo V15 Pro [38] and Centric S1 [39] also come with pop up camera mechanism for selfie camera.

Swivel

A swivel phone is composed of multiple, usually two, segments, which swivel past each other about a sagital axis (most of the time). Use of the swiveling form factor has similar goals to that of the slider, but this form factor is less widely used. Samples are, LG U900 + 960 + V9000, Motorola Flipout + V70 + V80, Nokia 7370, Siemens SK65, Samsung Juke + Samsung SGH-X830, and Sony Ericsson S700i + W600.

Some implementations, that do not use the sagital axis, are presenting in phones like Nokia 3250 and Oppo N1, with twistable componentes: a keyboard, and main camera (doubling as a selfie one), respectively.

Mixed

Some mobile phones use more than one form, such as the Nokia N90, Philips 968, Sharp SX862, Samsung SGH-P910, Amoi 2560, Samsung Alias series or Panasonic FOMA P900iV, which use both a swivel and a flip axis.

Other examples include the Sierra Wireless Voq which combines a candybar with a keyboard "side-flip"; the Nokia Communicator series which utilise both a candybar and a clamshell with a QWERTY keyboard; or the Siemens SK65 which is a swivel candybar with a QWERTY keyboard. [40]

Bezelless Samsung A80 [41] only has rear cameras that are housed in a motorized module, using a combination of slider and swivel they achieve the rotation to the front to be used for selfies.

Related Research Articles

Sony Ericsson P910

The Sony Ericsson P910 is a smartphone by Sony Ericsson introduced in 3Q, 2004 and the successor of the Sony Ericsson P900. The P910 has a full QWERTY keyboard on the back of the flip. The biggest change from the P900 to the P910 is that the P910 supports Memory Stick PRO Duo and the phone's internal memory has been upped from 16 MB to 64 MB. Although Memory Stick PRO Duo comes in larger capacities, the maximum supported by the P910i is 2 GB. It is powered by an ARM9 processor clocked at 156 MHz and runs the Symbian OS with the UIQ graphical user interface. Also, the touchscreen displays 262,144 colours, as opposed to the P900's 65,536 (16-bit). It comes in three versions:

Clamshell design electronic device form factor

The flip or clamshell is a form factor of a mobile phone or other device which is in two or more sections that fold via a hinge. If the hinge is on a long edge the device is more likely to be called clamshell than flip phone.

Pantech Inc. is a South Korean company that manufactures mobile phones. Established in 1991, its market is mainly domestic with partners in the United States, Japan, China, Europe and finally Vietnam. In 2012 Pantech was the second best-selling handset maker in South Korea, according to Gartner. In 2013 Samsung Electronics bought a 10% stake in Pantech. Pantech also partners with PCD for specialized phones.

T9 is a predictive text technology for mobile phones, originally developed by Tegic Communications, now part of Nuance Communications. T9 stands for Text on 9 keys.

Thumb keyboard

A thumb keyboard, or a thumb board, is a type of keyboard commonly found on PDAs, mobile phones, and PDA phones which has a familiar layout to an ordinary keyboard, such as QWERTY. The inputting surface is usually relatively small, and is intended for typing using the available thumbs, while holding the device.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic 2008 smartphone by Nokia

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is a mid-range smartphone part of the XpressMusic line, announced by Nokia on 2 October 2008 in London and started shipping in November of that year. Code-named "Tube", it was the first touchscreen-equipped S60 device by Nokia - essentially it was the first device to run Symbian^1, also known as S60 5th Edition, the touch-specific S60-based platform created by the Symbian Foundation. The touchscreen features tactile feedback.

The Samsung SGH-i907, marketed as the Samsung Epix in the United States by AT&T Wireless, is a Windows Mobile-based quad-band GSM smartphone manufactured by Samsung.

Pantech Wireless, Inc. (PWI), formed in 2002, is the North American subsidiary of Pantech, one of Korea’s three largest mobile phone manufacturers.

Motorola Backflip Android smartphone developed by Motorola Mobility

The Motorola Backflip is a touchscreen smartphone released to the U.S. for the AT&T Mobility network on March 7, 2010, and for other countries on Telus and Optus networks. It runs the open source Google Android software.

Nokia C6-00 mobile phone

The Nokia C6-00 is a smartphone and portable entertainment handheld cellular device by Finnish communications company Nokia, running the Symbian S60v5 operating system. It was announced on April 13, 2010. It is the third Nokia Symbian^1 smartphone featuring a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Its software and hardware specifications resemble the N97 mini in most ways. One of the differences is that the sliding in this phone is flat, unlike the upward angled in the N97 mini, hence allowing a four row QWERTY keypad, bringing a slightly enhanced typing experience to the table. The phone has a 5-megapixel camera, though unlike the N97 mini, it does not have Carl Zeiss optics. It also has a secondary camera in front for video calls. The Nokia C6-01 is the successor to the C6-00 featuring a major step-up with the new Symbian^3 operating system, Ovi Maps 3.0 and such but losing the QWERTY keyboard.

Nokia X5-00/01 are a pair of smartphones in the X-Series of Nokia's mobile phones. The original China model comes with Symbian OS 9.3, while the worldwide model uses S60 3rd Edition FP2.

BlackBerry Torch 9800

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is a 2010 model in the BlackBerry line of smartphones. It combines a physical QWERTY keyboard with a sliding multi-touch screen display and runs on BlackBerry OS 6. Introduced on August 3, 2010, the phone became available exclusively on AT&T on August 12, 2010.

BlackBerry Torch Wikimedia disambiguation page

BlackBerry Torch is a series of smartphones manufactured by BlackBerry Ltd. The lineup consists of the following:

Nokia X3 Touch and Type

The Nokia X3 Touch and Type also known as Nokia X3-02 is a mobile telephone handset produced by Nokia. This is the first mobile handset released by Nokia that possesses a touchscreen in a "candybar" phone form factor. It is also the first touchscreen handset from Nokia that runs the Series 40 operating system. Previously released touchscreen devices from Nokia have either not had a physical keyboard, or they have had a slide-out, full-QWERTY keyboard. It was introduced on 13 August 2010 as one of the most advanced Series 40 devices in terms of features and specifications.

Nokia's strategic nomenclature can be traced back in 2005 when the Nseries line was launched, offering devices with flagship specifications and premium hardware at various price points. These devices were considered the "bread and butter" of the company and were often positioned to showcase their latest technologies. Thanks to the newfound consumer and enterprise interest in smartphones at the time, the company introduced four additional collections to diversify their product portfolio and meet demands in most market segments. These new phone series were named Eseries, targeting small business and enterprise customers; Xseries, providing consumer-grade multimedia-focused devices; Cseries, which Nokia used to target both the low-end and mid-range market segments; and Tseries, for devices exclusive to the Chinese market.

Nokia C2-03

The Nokia C2-03 is a mobile phone manufactured by Nokia. This is one of the first mobile phones released by Nokia that possesses a touchscreen in a "slider" form factor. Previously released touchscreen devices from Nokia using Series 40 Operating System have been in "candybar" form factor.

The Nokia C2-06 is a mobile phone manufactured by Nokia. This is the first mobile phone released by Nokia that possesses a touchscreen in a "slider" form factor. Previously released touchscreen devices from Nokia using Series 40 Operating System have been in "candybar" form factor.

A foldable smartphone is a form factor of smartphone, which allows access to a larger tablet-like display or a phablet when needed by unfolding the device, whilst maintaining a similar or smaller footprint and functionality to a standard smartphone when folded. The screen may either wrap around to the back of the device when folded, or use a booklet-like design where the larger, folded screen is located on the interior, and a screen on its "cover" allows the user to interact with the device without opening it.

The Motorola Razr is an upcoming foldable Android smartphone produced by Motorola Mobility. Unveiled on November 14, 2019, it is expected to be released in 2020. The device is designed to be reminiscent of the Motorola Razr feature phone series, folded horizontally.

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