The Motorola Droid RAZR is impossibly thin, measuring just 7.1 mm at its thinnest point, but it’s now officially considered obese thanks to the 6.7 mm thin Fujitsu Arrows F-07D. The Arrows will probably never leave Japan, which is a shame, but at least it demonstrates that building thin smartphones isn’t exactly impossible. Spec wise, the Arrows is an inferior device compared to the RAZR. It has a single core 1.4 GHz processor (RAZR has a dual core 1.2 GHz processor), 4 inch 854 x 480 pixel display (RAZR has a 4.3 inch 960 x 540 pixel display), 5 megapixel camera (RAZR does 8 megapixels), and it only does 14 Mbps down (RAZR has LTE support). Design wise, we can’t help but feel that Fujitsu copied LG’s Optimus Black. It’s got the same boring brick look with slightly rounded corners and it also has a painfully glossy body. Just look at the video below, the guy demoing the device has to wear cotton gloves:
The bigger question here is why are we making such thin phones in the first place? As our smartphones get faster and faster, and come with larger and larger screens, doesn’t it make sense to sacrifice a few millimeters to throw in a good battery? Case in point, for a long time Nokia’s 1500 mAh battery was considered the biggest thing in town, but now nearly everyone throws 1600 mAh to 1800 mAh batteries inside their devices, all the while they remain 9 mm thick. They do that thanks to making larger, but thinner batteries. Would it kill people to have a 10 mm or even 12 mm thick device if it’s guaranteed to go 2 days with heavy use?
Next year we’re going to see the first devices based on TSMC’s 28 nanometer process hit the market, notably the Qualcomm S4 stuff in early 2012 and then the Tegra 3 refresh in late 2012. That’ll help with the power problem, but we can’t help but feel that it’s simply easier for handset vendor to simply just use a bigger battery.
[Additional reading: NTT DoCoMo]