Pick up any mobile device and look at it carefully. Of course, the first thing you notice is the size, shape, and weight of its physical implementation. Very old mobile devices can be easily recognized by their larger, ungainly form, but following a period in the 1990s and 2000s, during which manufacturers sought to develop ever smaller devices, most modern devices are now of broadly similar size and weight. Not by coincidence, this is about the size that fi ts comfortably into an adult hand.

A limited selection of device form factors tend to prevail in today ’ s mobile market place. Some are more popular in certain parts of the world than others or among certain demographic groups, so a conscientious mobile web developer needs to be aware of all of them. These broad categories include the following:

Candybar — These devices are rectangular and static, typically with the main screen on the top half of one face and navigational control keys and a numeric keypad on the lower part of the same face, as with the Samsung SGH - t349. This form factor tends to be prevalent for cheaper or legacy models, although a wider, flatter candybar form, with a larger screen and complete QWERTY keyboard, is often used for more pricey business devices, such as the RIM BlackBerry range and some of the Nokia E - Series range.

Slate — These devices are also rectangular and static, but with much larger screens and fewer physical buttons on the casing than the candybar form factor. The rise of popularity in slate devices has been largely driven by improvements in touch - screen technology, which allow for point - and swipe - based navigation and for numeric and QWERTY keyboards to be displayed in software. Often, these devices can be rotated between landscape and portrait mode to maximize screen usage for particular types of applications. With the advent of the Apple iPhone and Android - based devices, this form factor has become very popular on expensive consumer
devices, although some mid - range devices are now exhibiting similar characteristics. Additionally, a larger variant of the slate form factor, personified by the Apple iPad, Amazon
Kindle, and other tablet devices, is starting to inhabit the space between pocket - sized mobile devices and laptops, while still being quite feasible web clients for humans on the move.

Slider — These devices are rectangular and of similar proportions to candybar devices when closed. However, the two halves of the device, one supporting the screen and one the keyboard, are able to slide relative to each other. This extends the size of the device and exposes the keyboard for use. Portrait - style sliders are popular, often on low - end models, because the longer “ open ” shape can be easier to use for making calls. However, many contemporary handsets slide in a landscape manner, exposing a QWERTY keyboard to use with a wider screen aspect ratio, as with the HTC P4350 device shown.

Flip — These devices also are designed to open up and expose a concealed keyboard, but do so with a hinge, rather than a slider. As a result, the primary screen is not visible in the closed state and is generally smaller as a proportion of the device than for the other form factors. Some handsets provide a smaller secondary screen on the outside of the device, but this rarely supports a web browser. Motorola i410 device exhibiting a classic flip form. Despite all the differences between these form factors, you need to make some reasonable assumptions for the purposes of delivering mobile web content to a capable device. First, you can be fairly sure that the device has a screen upon which its browser can render your content, but also that it is fairly small, both physically and in terms of pixel dimensions — relative to a desktop or laptop.

Source of Information : Wiley - Professional Mobile Web Development with WordPress Joomla and Drupal

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