Computer World offers a good look at how important “form factor” is to the technology we buy. If you have a tiny mobile phone – the form factor is not made to type 400 page books. But the form factor is ideal to talk and MAYBE peck a few email lines.
When we refer to the size of a computer or component, we might be talking about its capacity, speed or connectors. Or we could be talking about its dimensionsóhow much physical space it occupies on the desktop, inside the PC box, in a server rack or in a briefcase. We apply the term form factor to the latter interpretation, to describe size and packaging.
Like much computer terminology, form factor began as technical shorthand but later was adopted as a marketing term as well. Thus, in many cases, form factor refers to a strict, technological definition while in others it is a vague and nonstandard promotional term.
Here, we offer a quick rundown of common form factors (highlighted in italics) for various types of products.
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