Have you ever noticed and wondered that the numbers on calculators and phones are placed in reverse order? You must have observed that the numbers on calculators are placed from bottom to top, while on phones the number system is from top to bottom, and in both the cases the number 0 is at the bottom. Why? Here’s the answer.

The vault of earlier mechanical cash registers had the number 0 at the bottom. The reason being; 0 being the most used number should remain at the bottom of the keypad for easy accessibility to the fingers.

And then, calculators came into existence where they followed the same rule. Ever since calculators have been manufactured following the same rule where the number system is from bottom to top. However, phones have a different layout, courtesy, Bell Telephone Company.

The engineers at Bell Telephone Company were not able to find a solution for number configuration of the mobile keypad and could not decide whether to go with the 5×2 matrix or a 3×3 matrix.

To resolve this issue, they called many people to use the keypad and give their feedback about the design they were most comfortable with 5x2 or 3x3 matrix.

Finally, after thorough and extensive research work and technical brainstorming, the engineers came to the conclusion that the numbering system 1-2-3 is the most preferable and accessible, and should remain at the top.  

This is how the entire keypad system was developed which we are using till date.

Krishnendu/ JPN

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