Smartphones are great little inventions and the general form-factor of our precious devices has shifted over the years. I still remember wielding my flip phone from way back and even a stylish slider phone that was touch sensitive. Owning a stylus orientated phone was another level of utility at the time and packing so many keys on a keypad was crazy yet ergonomic in some way. Smartphones are more than just for making calls or sending text and they are used for so much more in modern day living. Keypads have become a thing of the past and full screen touch keyboards are something users have been accustomed to. While a few throwback designs that go back to the simplicity of legacy mobile phones with the intention to make life simple, general consumers have found life to be much better with touchscreens. It’s unlikely we will see keypads make a return in this generation of popular phone designs, but manufactures will continue to explore form factor in an effort to realise a new market.
Sliders made a come back in some of the more recent phone releases, mostly in the Chinese market. Revisiting old form factors while retaining the very best features of the current norm isn’t a bad direction to head by any means and folding phones have been another zone of curiosity in recent months. Flip touch screen phones are a very unique experience and the screen real estate is certainly something many users will be keen on. The Galaxy Fold from Samsung caught the eye of many but left some feeling that the tech needed time to mature and perhaps for its user-base to also adapt, many launch day accidents ensued but it hasn’t caused Samsung’s ambitions to fold just yet. The Korean tech giant has filed for a patent showing that they intend to explore the world of sliding in their own way.
Sliding Samsung’s way is seen to be an interesting approach as it intends to give users a full touch screen display that they’re accustomed to. Yet flicking the phone downwards will expose various sensors and speakers when a user needs them. The aesthetic appeal of such a phone would certainly be unique but the mechanism employed remains to be seen as robust designs with moving form factors are hard to execute perfectly. Perhaps Samsung feel that they too believe that people want a dynamic experience that an be delivered through a slider function without foregoing what traditional mobile use had evolved into, the huge candy bar screens that we know and love. Patents sometimes fall on deaf ears but it will certainly be one to watch for in the years to come. I look forward to seeing new form factors and a little more innovation in the realm of phone concepts. Some may be completely pointless or cause more annoyance than anything but finding the next best thing in mobile form factors can only be done through research and development.