Them Phones Are Getting Skinny


Having started my weight loss efforts in earnest, it seems I am noticing things from a whole different perspective. For instance the phones, that are getting increasingly thin, and in a good sort of a way. This Friday, when I came home, there were a package from T-Mobile USA. They had sent me their newest windows mobile smart phone, The Dash.

Boy, it is feature packed. Sure its got Windows Mobile, not exactly my favorite OS, but others feel differently. The WiFi, the keyboard, and overall contour of the device are quite appealing. But it is its profile – slim and skinny which is most impressive. I have not put it through the entire battery of tests, and will report on that some other day.

Another phone/smartphone which is skinny and sexy – the Blackberry Pearl. Late September when visiting New York, a VC buddy of mine sang paeans to the Pearl and described it as the best phone he has ever owned. I dismissed this as typical VC hyperbole. Folks from RIM, somehow felt that I should try one out, and they have sent one. And guess what he was spot on.

Pearl is small, light, pretty, feature packed and more importantly thin. Thin enough to slip into the inside pocket of the Burberry blazers I so love, and not show up like a lump. It is unfortunate that it is only available for T-Mobile, because after five days of use, I would have easily dumped my various Nokia(s.)

The Dash, and The Pearl are the latest in the growing list of mobile phones that qualify as Skinny. Sharp, LG, Samsung – they all have come to market with Slimmer phones. We owe this weight loss trend to Motorola RAZR, that has become the Atkins of the mobile phone business. Q became the lightening rod for lighter smartphones. The downside of the skinniness is that the battery doesn’t last very long. Pearl has to be plugged in every night, and Dash’s WiFi gulps, not sips the power.

The big question, which I cannot answer is: do people buy phones because they are thin? What do you think?


Stuart Darnley

It appears that I may be the only one put off by these ridiculously thin phones of late. I see people with them (huge amount of RAZRs usually) and simply feel like snatching them from the person in question and snapping them in half out of repulsion, they’re hideous. If all future phones follow this “trend” I’ll be stuck with my curret k750i (respectable thickness) for a long time.

Brett Wayn

NTT Docomo actually studied this in the initial rollout of their MOVA series of phones around 1999, 2000. They plotted on a graph how sales went up as weight went down. I recall seeing the graph maybe in a sales presentation, or perhaps in Natsuno’s book, “iMode Strategy.”


I don’t need a slim phone for regular phone use – I have a Moto L2 for weddings and formal occasions but the UI makes the baby Jesus cry, so I stick to a SE z520 most of the way. The main reason I gave up carrying a smartphone was because of the bulk, though – the Sony P800 and the Nokia 6620 were both way too big for me.

Thing is, though, unless I’m sending e-mail from the phone, I can’t think of anything that would compel me to take a smartphone rather than, say, just installing Opera Mini on a W810i.


hey, quick request OM (or others at gigaom) – in advance of the holidays thing, could you perhaps get reviews of these smart phones (eg treo v motorolaq versus others) from some of your own tech circle friends? honestly, i could care less about why wired chose the q this year as editor’s pick because i know a lot of folks who like the palm’s speed and utility…curious to hear what some of the ubergeeks thing, and not what wired’s advertisers and partners want to hear (hey, maybe you could do an ubergeek profile weekly, like ‘what’s in my etc’ including the ‘why’…just a thought…

Paul Stamatiou

“The downside of the skinniness is that the battery doesn’t very long.”

I think you left out the word “last”.


Andrew M

I absolutely purchase based on slimness of design. Its the first factor I look for, its funny most photo’s of phones show the front an back, never how thin they are. The Treo 750 and Nokia N95 both suffer form being way to thick. Maybe I suffer from Phoneorexia or Mobulimia, but thats why I purchased the Slvr and my eventual smart phone purchase will be as slim as possible.

Om Malik

I never thought i would see the day when the blackberry could be used with one hand. wow. I am sold on pearl, though find something quite elegant about my Nokia E61. But Pearl is not a tough sell at all.


I bought a Blackberry Pearl because it’s tiny. I was skeptical about the QuickType keypad and went to a T-Mobile store to try it out. It was so unexpectedly small that I was sold on the spot.

I think being sleek does help get the attention/date. However, when it comes to a lasting relationship, it takes more than just a sleek look.


Quite simply people buy phones based on their form and price. Features don’t really matter much. Being skinny is pretty important and will sell a whole bunch of phones. However, despite being thin these phones above look like calculators to the average consumer and will not break the mass market. The current top phones are phones like the Samsung D900, the LG KG800 (Chocolate), and the Sony Ericsson W810i.

You want thin? Check out the Samsung SGH-X820. Half the thickness of the Pearl at 7mm.

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