Beauty and the Large Mobile Screen

by Satish Suggala on May 5, 2013

lumia-920-back

When the Mayans predicted that the world will end, they didn’t really mean total annihilation.  What they were really worried about was phone screen sizes as big as their soldiers’ shields. Phones becoming tablets and tablets becoming phones. I have to admit, I wouldn’t have cared until it affected me (we are all shallow like that). In this case, it unfortunately does.

Nobody wants to make a fast, powerful and handy thing anymore. Flagship phones are not a millimeter less than 4.7 inches and that is my bone of contention. But before I rant, let’s try to understand how we got here.

When
It all started with the Galaxy S. Until then, people were happy ripping Apple off with 3.5 inch screens and if the phone designer had a fight with their wife before work, it would be 3.7 inches. Ah, the good old days. Samsung, being the classless fools they are, thought the only way to get a one up over Apple would be a bigger screen size. Or was it?

Why
To be fair to Samsung, Android had many inefficiencies back then. Still does, in some places, but we’re still way better than the days of Eclair and Froyo. But that inefficiency meant that the CPU was running on full steam longer. Which meant more battery consumption. And that desire to improve battery life lead to larger phones.

And to top it off, everyone and their uncle were making bloated skins on top of Android like HTC (non) Sense, Samsung (bloop bloop) TouchWiz, Sonys, oh well, you get the drift. MOAR battery.

Logic, Anatomy?
I really don’t get it. The three mega Android brands Samsung, HTC and Sony come from Asia.  For the most part and unlike our western cousins, we have small hands. Well, not tiny but small. Basically, nothing to warrant 5+ inch phones. This is where Apple’s design just scores over every Android phone out there. Ergonomics is a small word but means a lot when it comes to a device that you have on you all day long.

What I’ve seen
Almost every second day I see people pulling out a humongous 7 inch device out of their pockets or talking into one. (Most of it around Dadar). Even the sales people at electronics stores will tell you whether you can or not talk into a tablet. I tell you, this is the beginning of the end.

samsung-galaxy-s-4-12-of-35

That is why Samsung is making such a killing. Just look at their stock price, for crying out loud.

Innovation, where art thou?
Android has gotten way better than in the recent past and a 1.2GHz phone with a gigabyte of RAM can churn out usable daily performance. But clearly, that isn’t enough. Our phones still need to be plugged into a charger every few hours. Is it possible that multi tasking get smarter and more battery efficient? I recently added Greenify to my root-ed Pantech Burst, only to notice that battery life has improved by 15-20%. Or Windows Phones for example. A 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM delivers more than enough for day to day tasks.

What I believe (not that anyone cares, but still)
Although our phones are doing more and more, it still is a phone first. Not that large devices are not phones, but portable devices should be handy. When I went out to get a new phone that was no more that had a screen size of no more than 4 inches and had a GB of RAM, all the options I had were the Pantech Burst and the Apple iPhone. Which is kind of sad, because there are many people out there who want small but powerful devices. I think this comes from my love for hot hatchback cars, but I digress here. Convergence need not mean large devices. Small may just be the new big.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Angad Sodhi May 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I used to share the same view until I got a nexus 4!
Now I love those 4.7 inches and that’s my new standard of acceptable screen size :)

I guess we get used to things pretty soon..

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