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Is A Slide Out Speaker On A Phone Pure Genius or Stupidity?

Let’s hit this head on. By now you’ve seen HTC’s latest WP7 contender and have had a chance to discuss it. But let’s focus on ‘the’ feature this phone brings. It’s a partial slider concealing a speaker. As Murani notes, this is a multimedia win and he notes that in gaming, watching videos and making calls on speakerphone this is a huge perk. I have to admit when I first saw the design I thought it was really silly to add any bulk for this feature but I think Murani is on to something here. Windows Phone 7 is going to go front and center with media – Zune, Xbox, social connectivity to your videos.  And when I think about the Tilt 2, it’s got a massive speaker but to use it you have to put the phone face down… great for a business call, not great when actually using the device for media. And by concealing it you can keep the face of the phone free of a giant speaker which just eats up real estate.

We’ve been discussing this internally and Daniel had this to say:

I’m not sure i want to take on the extra thickness for a pair of speakers that in all likelihood still suck. would rather they just added a mini sub-woofer in the back in addition to the normal stereo speakers. If the rear speaker is only providing bass, it doesn’t matter much, besides this thing already has a kick-stand so it’s a non-issue. i think a slide-out stereo speaker is pretty useless considering i bet they are slapping in the same old speakers just in a new location with a big grill to make it look like something impressive when it’s not.

So what do you think? Is this genius or stupidity?  Let’s just focus on the design for a second here though and divorce the OS from the device. Is this a killer feature?

Well if you want to throw in some speculation about whether the kickstand is also an antennae (FM radio…why not go big and pretend it’s tv) and if that area on the top of the speaker is a front facing camera then go for it;)