Form Factors

Smartphone Form Factors

Smartphones come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. To bring order to the chaos, manufacturers group phones of similar sizes and functions into categories they call “Form Factors”. Here’s how each category is defined:

Candy-bar & Slab Phones
Candy-bar phones get their name because they closely resemble their namesake in size and shape. They are monolithic blocks and aside from their buttons, they have no moving parts. They don’t come with hinges, and don’t have sliding parts or rotating pieces. Over time, the definition of a Candy-bar phone has expanded to include Smartphones with surface mounted keyboards as well a touch screen “Slabs”.

Flip Phones
Flip phones are usually made from two dis-similarly sized components that are hinged together. The larger component contains the display, the speaker and the keyboard or keypad. The smaller component usually contains only the microphone. It’s often made of thin plastic and it’s designed to act as a protective cover for the keyboard, display and speaker when the phone is not in use. To use the phone, the cover is “flipped” open.

Slider Phones
Slider phones have two main components. The first contains the display. The second contains the keyboard. When not in use, the keyboard is stored behind the display to save space. It is slid out from behind the display when needed.

Clam-shell Phones
Clam-shell phones are made from two similarly sized components that are hinged together along a shared edge. When not in use, the shell is closed shut for protection. When needed, the shell is flipped open to reveal the working parts of the phone (i.e. the display, the speaker, the microphone, the keyboard and keypad).

Swivel Phones
Swivel phones come in two parts. The first usually contains the display and speaker. The second usually contains the keyboard, battery and microphone. Both parts of the phone are connected to a central pivot. When not in use, the keyboard section is stored behind the display. In order to use the phone, the keyboard is swung into view.