In 2007, the first generation multi-touch screen smartphone was unveiled by Apple. It was life-changing. It had a 3.5 inch touch screen display with media, internet capabilities and the ability to make calls. The iPhone fit perfectly into the customer’s hand and stored well in their back pocket or hoodie pouch.
Because of that, phone manufacturers and software developers started revolutionizing the way we used smartphones by developing faster processors, higher quality screens and apps that compartmentalized every aspect of our daily lives. From waking you up through your smartphone’s alarm clock, to getting directions to your lunch meeting, the smart phone has become an indispensable fact of millions of lives.
Then the battle for a bigger screen size began. In the beginning of 2011, Samsung reported selling nearly 10 million units of the Galaxy S, touting a screen size of 4 inches and many companies took notice. HTC soon rolled out 4.7inch devices like the Sensation XL and Titan. In early 2012, Nokia followed suit with the 4.3 inch Lumina 900 and, later, the 4.5 inch Lumina 920. Soon enough, Apple joined the bandwagon when the 4 inch iPhone 5 was unveiled.
The race to the largest screen had begun and suddenly…big had become the new normal.
This year, the Samsung Galaxy Note III released with an enormous 5.7 inch color display. Samsung announced sales topping 38 million in three weeks, validating the market for a larger screen.
Rumors have begun to circulate, speculating that Apple has been testing for a 6 inch screen size and may plan to follow a multi-size strategy when they unveil the iPhone 6. This speculation may be due to Apple’s keeping the iPhone 4S in their catalog after releasing two separate iPhone 5 models, the 5c and 5s, in September.
What ever happened to using your phone with one hand? Have you ever walked by someone using a “phablet” to make an actual phone call? I can only imagine it feels equivalently awkward as using the Analog Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. We are talking phones so big that they come with a stylus to help you navigate them.
On the flip side, most mobile phone users don’t make calls through their devices. In a recent study done by Experian, data shows that users spend around 26% of their time talking on their mobile devices. All other time is spent making the most use of the touch technology.
For mobile users, an argument could be made that a bigger screen has increased the ease of processing more information, allowing us to act & react more quickly as well as provide an more enjoyable source of entertainment when it’s time to relax. After all, there’s much to be said for the additional space allowing for more usability and features. Plus, gaming is a lot nicer on a larger screen.
As screen sizes continue to grow larger year over year, one wonders if fashion will take a cue and accommodate for these larger devices to fit into our back pockets. I will openly admit that I am one of the few who scoffs at the excitement and hype of “phablets” which are taking over the mobile industry. I will hold onto my perfectly sized iPhone 5 which fits perfectly into my hand, held up to my ear and rests comfortably in my back pocket.