Are SMS and Mobile Applications the End of the Clamshell?

Lately I get the impression fewer people use clamshell phones than in the past. Even in the US it seems to me that when I was last there I saw more people with Blackberries running around and happily typing away on the keyboard than people still using a clamshell phone. So why? Could it be that the clamshell format is great for voice calls, i.e. quite sexy to open it up, but does not lend itself very well to text or web based applications? The smaller screen of the clamshell vs. sliders and the act of opening up the phone to check for messages, send a quick sms, e-mail or surf the web might just be that tiny little bit too much these days!? What do you think, what are your observations?

8 thoughts on “Are SMS and Mobile Applications the End of the Clamshell?”

  1. If it’s a clam shell with just one screen I can see you’re point, but if it has second screen to display notifications maybe not.
    I suspect the popularity of large touch screen devices is a bigger cause for fewer clam shell being in use.

  2. I always thought clamshells were feminine looking and takes more effort to use. A slider can be used without opening the phone for voice calls, with really no noticeable performance degradation.

    Only a personal view though…

  3. Interesting question, but I would have to say no.

    At least for those folks I know here in the US, a lot of them still equate clamshells with more “protection for the screen” and are therefore willing to live with the sometimes smaller screens.

    I do think that clamshells in the RAZR/V60 style are a bit played-out style wise and models like the Sidekick and even Tilt/HTC Pro/N97 point to something more along the lines of what folks appreciate in this form factor.

  4. Clamshells aren’t as stable to hold for one-handed texting. It appears some people never got the hang of opening clamshells one-handed, or some models are difficult to do that with. The more a phone is used (voice or text), the more “instant” the user wants it to be.
    My guess anyway. I use an HTC smartphone for the screen and functionality.

  5. My experience with clamshells goes back to the grandaddy of clamshells the Motorola 550 — a great brick of a phone (I think they called it the ‘Flip Phone’). I went through three of them as it seems that the wiring between the upper and lower sections had a mean time between failures of about 38 days.

    I dropped the clamshell design for the Nokia after the Motorola experience. Though each of my kids thought clamshells were so cool that they chose it as a first phone. Same problem, the failure rate (connection between the flip and base broke down) was measured now in about 12 months.

    From an engineering point of view it is a significant point of failure for both phones and laptops. I am hoping that in time the trend will just pass.

    You can blame the whole flip phone thing on William Shatner of Star Trek fame. His communicator was a clamshell.

  6. I like the way clamsheel looks, but i think is not practical at all and don’t fulfill my needs; of course I’m talking for myself. However, my wife and most women i know used to like them. I say “used to like them” because right now most of them (including my wife) are using blackberry phones (and not the clamshell model, they don’t like it) as they can chat through blackberry messenger easily.
    I think that even Operators are pushing touch-screen and non-clamsheel style mobiles.
    I’ve made a very quick “headcount” of clamshell in my office, and i just saw a couple of people using this kind of mobiles. I know this might not be the best statistic sample, but I kinda support Martin’s theory. For sure, I think that there will always be clamshell fans and mobile phones providers strategy play an important role on this and might impact this trend.

  7. Clam shell phones had its time when NEC brought it into Japan market. Seems there are still more people love it here in Japan.
    It protects the screen and also for Email and browser is much more popular in Japan, the seperated keyboard – which gives you enough space to type- is demanded. Unlike English, typing the Japanese chracters does not need the whole 26 letters on your keyboard, and the 9 number keys are perfect.

    I had slide phones, but after a while my hands become ichy – feel the need to just open and close my phone. 🙂

Comments are closed.