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By 31 May 2011 | Categories: news

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Chiclet-style keyboard
 
This is a term that comes up fairly often in some of our notebook reviews, since Chiclet-styled keyboards are making a comeback. Chiclet keyboards have been with us since the early days of computing and refers to a keyboard or keypad with an array of small, rectangular rubber or plastic keys shaped like “Chiclets”, a brand of chewing gum sporting small squares with rounded corners (just like a Stimorol).
 
In addition to the rounded corners, chiclet keys also have spacing surrounding each individual key, giving your fingers a bit more room to effectively navigate the keyboard, unlike the traditional style that sometimes feels a bit cramped. 
 
 
Near field communication (NFC)
 
Near field communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless communication technology which enables the wireless transfer of data of distances over 4 cm or less. The technology, which can be incorporated into smartphones or wallets, can be used to both read and write data and is already in use in countries such as Japan, South Korea and certain places in Europe, usually for mass transport transactions such as subway fares.
 
NFC has a lot of practical applications, from buying groceries with the swipe of your smartphone to transferring pictures from your NFC-enabled camera to your NFC-enabled TV. The Google Nexus S (p9) contains NFC technology, with the company’s previous CEO, Eric Schmidt stating that NFC should “revolutionize electronic commerce as well as payments”.
 
 
Form factor
 
In traditional computing terminology, form factor refers to the physical dimensions of system components, with more modern systems usually becoming smaller. Today the term is much more common in the sphere of consumer electronics and mobile devices though. The most common smartphone form factor found today looks a lot like the iPhone, with a large touch-screen taking up most of the space, with maybe a button or two below.
 
This so called ‘slate’ (pictured left) design relies on a touch-screen for input. Other popular examples include the ’candybar’(pictured middle) design, with the display and keys on one face. A ‘flip’ or ‘clamshell’ (pictured right) design on the other hand has the display and keypad connected by hinges, creating a flip out dynamic as popularised by the Motorola RAZR a few years back. 

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