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The Palm Pre home button was the first to be the last

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dbohn_210622_4651_0001.0.jpg The original Palm Pre.

Physical home buttons are all but extinct on modern smartphones, and the Palm Pre ended them.

It’s not hard to notice that smartphones have steadily shed their buttons throughout the years: keyboards, numpads, call and hang up buttons, directional navigation keys, and more have all fallen to the wayside in favor of more versatile touchscreens.

In 2007, the iPhone — with its then-revolutionary 3.5-inch multitouch display — helped to push that trend along by reducing navigation down to a single home button. But even as touchscreen sizes grew and buttons fell away, the humble home button stubbornly stuck around. (Apple wouldn’t ditch the button for over a decade, when the iPhone X arrived in 2017.)

But it was the Palm Pre, and its largely...

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