The process of things changing over successive generations is called evolution. If you look at smartphones in a historical context you’ll see evolution at its finest. Engineers of these big companies that make our phones are constantly striving to innovate and improve the design and functionality of the smartphones we use everyday.

One of the biggest evolutions in cell phones/smartphones is the number of buttons. It wasn’t long ago that the number of buttons on your cell phone equated to increased function. It came to a point in the evolutionary process of cell phones that complete keyboards were included on these tiny devices, But a few years ago it totally changed when the smartphone allowed screens to be optionally used as touchpads.

Today most of the smartphones have de-evolved their buttons. iPhones have four buttons. Some android phones still have more than three or four buttons, but they still have very few. Most of the latest Windows phones only have three or four buttons, and while some BlackBerry phones still have a full keyboard, the latest Z10 model looks much different, and is going button minimalist.

The one thing that remains a constant is the home button, and in a world of evolutionary changes these constants keep us grounded. Smartphones should probably retain this feature no matter how they evolve.

1. Consistency

No matter what device you have in your hands if there is a home button you can always navigate your way back to the initial screen.

2. Clickability

We might not want to admit it but it’s still nice to hear the sound of a click when we press at least a few buttons on our smartphones.

3. Functionality

These home buttons actually provide a lot of function. A click will bring us out of an app, and a double-click will open up a special screen, like the multitasking screen on iOS devices. Functionality is key with home buttons.

4. No Look

We all know that texting and driving at the same time is a big no no, but sometimes you need to switch out of an app and don’t want to look at the phone while you’re doing something else like driving. The home button is handy at those moments.

5. Restart

When the software fails it’s nice to be able to restart the device using the hardware. With an iPhone and Android you can tap and hold both the home button and power button together to shut down the system and restart.

6. Screenshot

By quickly tapping the home and power button together you can take a screen shot of whatever you’re looking at when using iPhone and (select) Android devices.

7. Navigation

Trying to navigate blind, by simply using capacitive buttons, would be very difficult. Even if capacitive buttons vibrate when activated.

8. Space Savers

Having a physical home button actually saves space on the screen for other stuff, even if they went away when not in use, they still take up too much precious screen real estate.

9. Multipurpose

Home button serve multiple purposes making them very useful. They can take you back, close apps, and do much more.

10. Positioning

This was partially stated before, but most home buttons are positioned in the same location from device to device, the bottom center, and this gives consistency and ease-of-use when switching between devices.



Christen Costa

 
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."