Mobile phone companies sell hardware on appearance as much as on features. Many people who purchase mobile phones place a high level of importance on how they look. Mobile phone designs fall into five primary categories, and this article explains some of their advantages and disadvantages.
Many mobile phone providers partially subsidize the cost of mobile phones in an effort to entice new customers. In exchange for buying a phone at a reduced price, the customer agrees to remain with that provider for a certain amount of time — usually two years. If you will be using your new mobile phone for the next two years, it is important to select a phone with a design that you find attractive and functional. Mobile phone designs fall into a few primary categories.
Candybar phones are long and thin, like a bar of chocolate. A candybar phone typically has the screen on the top half, and the keypad on the bottom half. Because candybar phones are very thin, they fit easily into pockets without adding bulk. However, it is possible to accidentally press the buttons on a candybar phone while it is in your pocket. Most phones have keypad locking features to prevent this. The Nokia 3310, from 2000, is an iconic mobile phone with the candybar design.
A flip phone is essentially a candybar phone with a hinge in the middle, allowing it to fold in half like a clamshell. Flip phones are usually thicker than candybar phones when closed. However, the closed design prevents the buttons from being pushed while the phone is a pocket. The Motorola RAZR, from 2004, is an iconic mobile phone with the flip phone design.
The slider design places the two halves of a cell phone on top of one another. When the phone is not in use, the half with the keypad slides behind the screen. Many slider phones have small front-mounted keypads, allowing basic functionality while the primary keypad is still underneath. The T-Mobile Sidekick, from 2002, is an iconic mobile phone with the slider design.
A touch-screen or slate phone has a minimal keypad, or no keypad at all. The user controls the phone by tapping words and icons on the screen. The touch-screen design became extremely popular following the release of the Apple iPhone in 2007. Many touch-screen phones have the ability to run a variety of games and other applications.
Some cell phones have full QWERTY keyboards — the same layout as on a computer — for people who frequently send e-mail and text messages. This enables faster text entry than most people can manage with a standard 12-button keypad, but often adds to the size of the phone. Phone manufacturers have incorporated QWERTY keyboards into the bar, flip and slider phone designs. Research in Motion is particularly well-known for releasing mobile phones with QWERTY keyboards under the BlackBerry brand name.
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