Pop-out joystick for tactile navigation

Considering the amount of time we spend diddling their controls, we're surprisingly undemanding about the hardware interface our cellphones have.  Oh yes, we'll readily praise the tiny trackballs in the latest BlackBerry handsets or on the Sidekick 3, or wax lyrical about the multi-touch screen the iPhone boasts, but most mainstream mobiles make do with a bland directional pad or, if you're Sony Ericsson, a tiny little nubbin of joystick that inevitably ends up as floppy as a drunken sailor.

So while this joystick concept is currently just an industrial design from Protech, it's something I'd like to see reach fruition to a generation of phone users weaned on analogue Playstation controllers.  It's a simple idea: it sits flush when not in use, and when you want to navigate a quick twist with the pad of your thumb and out pops a tactile joystick.


The designers don't just see it as a cellphone interface, either.  They're envisaging applications like portable games consoles, which would be a whole lot more pocket- and finger-friendly with a control stick like this.

Industrial Design [via Coolest Gadgets]