Smartphone manufacturers want to take advantage of all the space they can get. As technology improves, it means that utilizing the space in our smartphones gets a little easier, but also means some elements need to get cut. Like the headphone jack. It’ll be gone completely soon enough.
For some companies, it’s an excuse to make devices thinner. One can hope we’ve seen the culmination of that effort from Apple at this point, even if there are some companies out there that offer even thinner products. Apple, Samsung, and other companies seem to have given up on the idea of making our devices paper thin, thankfully, instead capitalizing on thinner bezels to maximize screen real estate.
Say what you will about the “notch” on the iPhone X, it at least makes the new flagship smartphone stand out in a crowd of devices that are starting to look the same all over again from the front. Just big slabs with big displays and small bezels. There isn’t anything wrong with that, of course, because the minimized bezels have given us some pretty great devices.
I can’t help but think that threat of ever-shrinking smartphones is still around, though. And Huawei has helped bring that fear back to the fore.
There is a prototype of the Huawei-branded P20 slinking around out there right now. For the most part there isn’t anything huge revealed. No massive surprises. Other than the fact that the rumor mill says the Huawei P20 Plus is going to have three rear cameras, that is.
That prototype does have something interesting going on with the volume keys, though. Specifically, there aren’t any there. Of course, this is a prototype and that could mean that they just aren’t there, but when the public unit arrives later in March, they’ll be right where we expect them to be.
Or, we could be seeing the introduction of “virtual volume keys”. That means we’d have to swipe up and down to change the volume on our phone, which, honestly, at face value doesn’t seem that awful. But at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if this is something that anyone was asking for.
When you’ve got the P20 in your hand and you’re looking at it, using that virtual volume key might not be an issue. But what if it’s in your pocket and you want to turn down the volume of the music you’re listening to? Physical buttons means I don’t have to put my hand in my pocket, or take the phone out.
Okay, so maybe some other people might be asking for more virtual buttons, but I can safely say I’m not one of them.
This is just one company maybe going this route, and that of course doesn’t mean this is some imminent threat by any means. But I wanted to ask: Do you want to adopt virtual buttons across your phone? Are you ready to say goodbye to the physical buttons we’ve been using for so long? Let me know!