Phones are weird

Phones are weird

2020, Dec 24    

Hey there,

Welcome to the 34th KnowledgeDay issue. Hope you’re doing great!

This light-hearted issue was requested for by Samarth, your fellow reader, and a friend of mine. Today, we look at the interesting shape turns mobile phones have taken over the years.

I’m skipping all the concept designs that never made to production. You can just hit youtube if interested.

Let’s get on to it.

Not just a rectangle box
We’ve come a long way from early phones covering the entire side of our face, to now, well… That watch on the wrist paired with a wireless earphone is enough.

> The land mine

Oldest of the bunch and probably still there might be a variant of a landline phone in your living room. Just lying there, losing value. But they for sure have super high ringing volume.


Adjoining fact: Many may believe that the Alexander Graham Bell was the inventor of the phone. But it was in fact the Italian/American Antonio Meucci, who invented the phone in 1849. Alexander Graham Bell was however the first that acquired the patent of the technique, first in the year 1876.

> The hand mine

Cordless thick phone Yes, that’s CJ’s phone

This thick boy shows the first steps towards carryable phones. It didn’t have much battery span or network range. But, well, did allow us to talk on the terrace.

> Somewhat Thinner

The Amoi E78

Once the wire was removed. Priority shifted towards losing fat and weight. All while increasing the screen size to accommodate java games. Wow, the full keyboard too. Reminds me of my first windows mobile phone with a qwerty keypad. I’ve given it countless hours playing NES emulated games. The qwerty keyboard was a bliss, and ex-blackberry users would definitely relate.

> Focus on the style

Funky flip/slide action gif

Enter the action. Flip phones and the ones with slides had the cool of the early 2000s. I know what you’re thinking, it’s come back with foldable screens, but is it as fun as before? No, it’s delicate af.

> Touch me yes

Touch screen

You’re holding it. Nothing fancy anymore. Was a dream of child Yash, but is a norm everywhere now.

> Efforts to kill the notch: Popup cam, flip cam, dual screens, Under display cam

Starting 2014+ all top makers started expanding screen real estate, and tried minimizing bezels on the front. Even stretched around a notch to have a little-more screen on the front.

But one day in 2018, Vivo came with another idea. Pop-up cameras. Vivo Nex was the first phone to have a pop-up camera.
Vivo NEX Vivo NEX

Asus took a step ahead and brought up a flip camera, which allows them to use the same cameras on the back and the front.
ASUS Zenfone 7

Saving the front real estate is everyone’s problem. A couple of them, mainly ZTE/Nubia brought up another approach. Screens on both side. Over engineering maybe, and you can’t put up a back cover with this. But the ability to have an animated backside looks sexy for sure.
Nubia X Nubia X(dual screen)

That wasn’t enough, these guys are experimenting the possibility of putting the camera under the screen. ZTE infact just released a phone with under-screen camera which takes very average photos.
ZTE Axon 20 Look closely on the top middle, the camera’s there

> Foldable screens

Samsung galaxy fold Every phone is a foldable phone if you’re strong enough

Latest in the trend; costs around the prices of motorcycles. But less thrill than what the motorcycles can give. Not recommended, but the riches can flaunt as they like.
P.S. I wrote a fun article on Escobar surrounding the foldable phones. I think you’ll like that.

> T screen

The LG Wing

If you’ve checked the news recently. You’d know LG’s heavily trying to create a little space that they can own (much like Sony), the latest is their phone with a screen that swivels horizontally. Giving space for a secondary screen on the bottom.
The win? Yeah well, I’m trying to figure that out too.

> For the extremists: Light phone

The Light phone

You’re addicted to your phone. You’re also reading this on your phone too. Do you waana cure your addiction, but don’t waana use an annoying app or go back to using feature phone? You’re in good hands, this is where The Light Phone comes in.
A smartphone running on android but offers lesser features than a feature phone, so you can’t do anything but call or text (or set alarms).
Pro: Looks cute
Con: Very expensive for what it offers ($350); Basically a useless innovation because they are trying to recreate a feature phone, on top of a smartphone OS.

> Bonus: Samsung seems to be exploring pop-out display

Samsung pop-out diplay Sounds like every other phone if you manhandle it right.
But Samsung recently filed a patent for a phone with a pop up flexible display.
Guess why…

The purpose is to make room for a speaker resonance chamber. That’s it. Sounds like a good idea for audio enthusiasts, but the audio enthusiasts also have better speakers to pick from.

Can be a fail but it’s not a real phone yet. It’s just patented and they are experimenting.

The end

That’s all folks, I end with a question.
Do you have a favorite cell form factor among the above? Which one would you like right now?
For me, it’d be a sliding touch with a physical keypad. Basically FxTec Pro 1 but with keyboard from Gemini PDA.