Monday, June 08, 2009

Are Sliders the Way of the Future?

Don't you just love these simple terms? In my mind, smartphones come in 3 different designs:
  • Smartphones that slide open a keyboard are known by some as "sliders." (not to be confused with the television show). They may slide open in a horizontal or vertical position. Some even open both ways. In some cases, the screen may rotate away to expose the keyboard (like the T-Mobile Sidekick).
  • Phones that flip open are called "clamshells." (do they really look like clams?) Like sliders, they may open horizontally or vertically and some even open both ways.
  • The standard phone that lacks any sliding or flipping parts is often called a "candybar." Plain and boring. No moving parts except for keyboard buttons. Care for Snickers anyone? The iPhone reminds me of a flat Hershey's chocolate bar.
One of my first phones was a Motorola StarTac (which was a clamshell). So, I used to have a Palm Treo 700wx that ran Windows Mobile. This was a rather thick candybar but I really enjoyed using this phone. I currently have an HTC slider that opens to reveal a keyboard. Sliders typically open either vertically or horizontally. Some even open in both directions. Newer clamshells also are being designed to open in both vertical and horizontal directions. Have you seen the Samsung Alias 2? That's a clamshell that opens in both directions.

So my original question was: are sliders the way of the future for healthcare professionals who need to use their phones for both professional and personal applications? Sliders offer a hardware keyboard plus a large screen. The major downside is that sliders are thick. However, the Palm Pre is a new slider that has a sleeker body and may set the standard that other manufacturers will try to emulate.

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