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Counterclockwise: celebrating the weird form factors of yesteryear

A couple of weeks ago we look at weird ways to mount a phone’s camera. That inspired us to dive into weird form factors this week.

Phone form factors generally fall into four categories – static, slider, flip and swivel. Static is the simplest, but that certainly doesn’t mean boring. The Nokia 7280 is a favorite to bring up in this tip of articles – look at it – like a prop from a sci-fi TV show. Not that the 3650 or 7600 are any saner. Or the Siemens SX1.

Nokia 7280
Nokia 3650
Nokia 7600
Siemens SX1

Nokia 7280 • Nokia 3650 • Nokia 7600 • Siemens SX1

The flip form factor is home to some of the most popular to some of the best-selling phones of all time. Show of hands, who here hasn’t seen a Moto RAZR? No one? That’s what we thought.

Then there’s the Backflip, which puts the QWERTY on its back. A more traditional flip design with Android is the LG Wine Smart, but they are rare (especially outside of China). Of course, some phones combine multiple actions like the Nokia N93i – it does flip and swivel.

Motorola RAZR V3
Motorola BACKFLIP
LG Wine Smart
Nokia N93i

Motorola RAZR V3 • Motorola BACKFLIP • LG Wine Smart • Nokia N93i

We’ve seen vertical sliders like the Samsung D600 and horizontal sliders like the Nokia E7 and odd-balls like the Xperia Play. The BlackBerry Priv is probably the last of the true sliders (that is if you don’t count what the Oppo Find X does as “sliding”).

Samsung D600
Nokia E7
Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY
BlackBerry Priv

Samsung D600 • Nokia E7 • Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY • BlackBerry Priv

Swivel is perhaps the rarest and like the slider it is used to hide the keyboard. The Siemens SK65 is an early example, but the X shape is perhaps not the most practical. The Motorola Aura is unique with its round screen that serves as a pivot for the swivel mechanism. Another Moto, the FlipOut, combines a squarish charm and a hardware QWERTY. The Nokia 7370 looks almost pedestrian in comparison.

Siemens SK65
Motorola Aura
Motorola FlipOut
Nokia 7370

Siemens SK65 • Motorola Aura • Motorola FlipOut • Nokia 7370

Rumors of “foldable phones” abound with many major companies showing tech demos at trade events. The ZTE Axon M is not unique in its implementation – it shares a design with the Sony Ericsson Xperia P and the Kyocera Echo – but it’s more of a flip phone, really. True foldable phones should have a single uninterrupted screen. A slider solution is also possible, though with more screen and less keyboard than the LG DoublePlay.

ZTE Axon M
Sony Tablet P
Kyocera Echo
LG DoublePlay

ZTE Axon M • Sony Tablet P • Kyocera Echo • LG DoublePlay

Okay, here’s a question – is the Nokia 6810 a flip phone? What about the Sony Ericsson P800? Is the Oppo N1 one of the swivel phones or in a category of its own? And LG G Flex looks like the usual slab, but it’s curved and even more unique – you can bend it! That’s a long way away from boring.

Nokia 6810
Sony Ericsson P800
Oppo N1
LG G Flex

Nokia 6810 • Sony Ericsson P800 • Oppo N1 • LG G Flex

Which is your favorite phone with a weird form factor or just a kooky design?

News credit : Gsmarena