5 form factors that used to be all the rage but we barely care about now

5 form factors that used to be all the rage but we barely care about now
Come on in, flip phone lovers, slider and swivel aficionados, where are you? Ever since Steve Jobs's dream for everybody to carry an Apple computer in their pocket was realized with the original iPhone, there has been one and only one form factor ruling supreme on our phones - the large, flat slice of toast, necessitated by the large, flat screens our phones are built around now.

At the time the first iPhone was announced in 2007, we still had many, many other form factors, and some of them were really popular with users, like the flip phone, which is still the rage in Japan and some other places, as well as the BlackBerry-esque ones with physical QWERTY keyboards - hey, having an entirely virtual keyboard was still a pretty novel idea back then!

This is why we wanted to take a trip down memory lane, a few years after Apple outed the OG iPhone, and Google countered with its Android mobile OS, to check if you still remember those now crazy-looking form factors, which at the time were the bee's knees, check them out and tell us which one was your favorite.

The Clamshell


Feeling nostalgic about flip phones? You aren't alone - recently a good percentage of respondents in a poll of ours said they would buy an Android flip, and we even rounded up some of the best for your convenience. Nothing says "this conversation is over" like the reassuring click when you close a flip phone, and what better handset to remind us of this trend than the popular Motorola RAZR, which started the whole thin phone craze with its anorexic for the time physique.



The portrait QWERTY


There has barely been a brand to do more for the popularity of phones with portrait QWERTY than BlackBerry, with its great physical keyboard that was a trademark for corporate folks and government employees alike for a long, long time before the big-screen phones took over, and even for some time after that. With the advent of ever-improving virtual keyboards, slide-typing, and voice assistants, the portrait QWERTYs became increasingly obsolete.


The Slider


The slider's advantage is that you can place a relatively large display on it, and still have the convenience of a physical keyboard or keypad, tucked underneath the panel. These came in many shapes and sizes, and are definitely fun to play with, sliding the keyboard or navigation buttons panel back and forth all the time.



The Side-Slider


A variation of the format, side-sliders usually tuck in a full landscape QWERTY keyboard for faster typing. Lets not forget that even when Android had already arrived on the scene, screens were still rather small, compared to today's standards, so it wasn't very comfortable to type on them with an on-screen keyboard only, and the physical one made sense.



The Dual-Slider


Another variation of the venerable format, the dual-slider, revealed one physical set of buttons or navigation pads when the screen half was pushed up, and another when it was slid down. Take the Nokia N95, for instance - sliding the screen part down revealed the music player navigation keys for faster access.


Bonus: the Swivel


Ok, this one is a bit out there, but it was certainly fun to observe and toy with, even if it wasn't overly practical. Sometimes manufacturers make a phone just for the sake of it, or because they have been playing around with an idea in the labs too long, and often these are the most unorthodox handsets you can imagine.

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20 Comments

1. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

The n95 when it came out was a true monster of a phone in terms of features and size.. I miss Nokia so much..

12. Subie

Posts: 2275; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

If I had one I'd probably still be using it!

17. engineer-1701d unregistered

Nextel i90 claim best phone ever

2. fatexo

Posts: 221; Member since: May 21, 2010

Aino !! I used to love that phone.. I miss using that phone.

3. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1409; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Clamshell phone still popular, at least in the cartoon. Phineas and Ferb's sister still has one

20. adamvzwez

Posts: 51; Member since: Mar 29, 2015

i never knew phineas and ferb's sister was a drug dealer

4. Leandronb

Posts: 86; Member since: Jun 03, 2014

look at how many options in design we had, now every phone is the same, a huge screen and that's it,

5. shadez10

Posts: 427; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

I used to have a RAZR V3i and it was a head turner. Unfortunately it was stolen... lol

13. perry1234

Posts: 623; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Turned somebody's head so hard they couldn't turn it back eh ? :P

6. GreenMan

Posts: 2694; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Ummm... Where's "Candybar" Form Factor??? Can't see it anywhere... O_O Anyhow, I don't miss Dual Sliders, Side Sliders, or 'Swivel' as you describe it... And I sure as as hell don't even care about Blackberry QWERTY Phones... What? They went down the drain pipe? Okay, no worries cause I LOVE T9 KEYBOARD...!!! BUT I DO MISS CLAMSHELL a.k.a FLIP PHONES... They were AWESOME in an... Errr... Ummm... Ughh.... AWESOME way!!!

10. skips

Posts: 458; Member since: Oct 04, 2015

candybar is the one used right now fyi. candybar is a candybar - with or without buttons.

7. UglyFrank

Posts: 2188; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I remember when the aino was announced i wanted it so badly

9. surethom

Posts: 1588; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Why is it impossible to find a candybar phone with numeric keys with a decent camera of 8 to 12 megapixel, my parents do NOT want a full touchscreen phone but do want a ok camera to take the odd photo.

11. skips

Posts: 458; Member since: Oct 04, 2015

I WANT MY SIDE SLIDER GODDAMNIT.

14. monoke

Posts: 1127; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Wow. Trip down memory lane. I miss these days cuz not everybody cared or dared to afford more expensive smartphones. So u felt a certain privilege in having one. Lol. Thanks pa.

15. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

I just remember the days when I wanted the N95 so bad. So Nostalgic.

16. megathaszrul89

Posts: 203; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

swivel phone like motorola flipout was fun to use too. i love those days where we have many design options. i am still a side slider-qwerty-out fan!

18. TechNeck

Posts: 643; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

I just had a nostalgia moment with this article. I remember my LG Chocolate. Man, that was a great slider.

21. Leo_MC

Posts: 6393; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

No, it wasn't.

19. fjftokyo

Posts: 65; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

I've found my what everyones looking for the Samsung SM-G9198

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