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The button at the bottom front of iPod/iPhone/iPad/Samsung is great UX. Why other mobile manufacturers don't offer such a button at the front as well? Most smartphones have a hardware button on the side, and some at the back(!). Most of the time the phone is on a table (or other flat surface) so wouldn't it make much more sense to place the hardware button at the front?

  • why would you consider the front as the best option? If you like add the answer to this to the question. – Alejandro Veltri Aug 27 '15 at 20:34
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    @rewobs, question updated – Sparkler Aug 27 '15 at 20:38
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Well first the button on the front of the iPhone isn't the power button, they place theirs on the side as well. The reason for not putting the power button on the front is that where the users can most easily reach, so that real estate is used for functions that occur more commonly like backward navigation such as the iPhone.

Also many other phone manufacturers do have button on the front bottom panel that serve roughly the same purpose:

Windows Phone: enter image description here

HTC Incredible: enter image description here

With regards to buttons on that back:

http://www.cnet.com/news/lgs-signature-rear-control-buttons-are-here-to-stay/

When the average user hold their mobile phone with one hand the index finger tends to rest in the center of the back of the device: enter image description here

Therefore it is arguably just as easy to use if not easier than other button placements:

LG said the change in location, odd as it may seem, was actually much more comfortable and intuitive for users.

The real benefit then comes in the form of screen real estate. By moving all buttons off the side and face of the phone you can use that extra space to maximize screen size:

By moving the buttons off the handset's edges, Woo added, it enabled LG to design phones with ultrathin bezels. The G2's bezel, for example, measures just 2.65 mm, and the G3's is even smaller at 1.15mm. And when it comes to screen real estate, smartphone users know that bigger is indeed better.

Sure this is just one case but I think it is likely that attempts at easier finger placement is the reasoning behind most mobile device button placement.

EDIT: Also note Android OS phones have these "buttons" displayed on the screen allowing them more flexibility in hardware button location:

enter image description here

  • With side/back buttons every time the user wants to check a notification, they must take the phone in their hands, whereas with a front button you only need one finger... So everyone is assuming the phone is always in your hands and not on the table? – Sparkler Aug 27 '15 at 20:26
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    @Sparkler Not necessarily the case. The LG G3, for example, allows you to double tap the screen to wake the phone up. – DasBeasto Aug 27 '15 at 20:28
  • In the case of LG I think they use it for PR only because the double tap is buggy and annoying. So effectively users maybe don't really use the double tap. – Sparkler Aug 27 '15 at 20:32
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    @Sparkler I think that may be more of a personal opinion, I owned the G3 and found the feature useful and well implemented, I still find myself double tapping my iPhone sometimes. – DasBeasto Aug 27 '15 at 20:33
  • Ok :) that leaves us the rest of industry that seems to standardize on side button – Sparkler Aug 27 '15 at 20:35

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