Mobile phones these days seem to be set on out-sizing conventional TVs by 2020. The adage “bigger is better” may apply to may things, but surely there must be a limit on an object which is meant to be portable above everything else. Ever since Samsung strode out onto the battlefield with their famous Galaxy phone series, it’s been a fight to the last inch for who can manage to squeeze the largest possible screen estate onto the smallest, thinnest and lightest package possible?
I still remember most people’s reaction when the Galaxy Note was announced. A 5.2” screen? How could anyone even think of wielding such a massive slab of a phone, let alone carry it? Still, the Note proved to be another powerful weapon which boosted Samsung’s sales and gave them a considerably larger share in the smartphone market. Ever since then, manufacturers have been dishing out flagship phones in ever-increasing screen sizes.
The “smallest” of the so-called current flagship phones is the HTC One, which has a 4.7” screen. The norm now seems to be 5” screens, with phones such as the Sony Xperia Z and the Samsung Galaxy S4 all boasting of such screens running a full-HD resolution. Apple seems to have, for now, stuck to its own guns and presented its latest iPhone with a 4” screen – it’s also quite probable that the iPhone 5S will have a 4” screen as well. However, rumour’s abound that the iPhone will soon jump on the Android bandwagon and increase its screen estate in the 2014 models.
The latest shocker has indeed arrived from Sony, an Android phone manufacturer – they recently announced the Sony Xperia ZUltra (ZU in short), a “phablet” device with a whopping 6.4” screen, making it the biggest “smartphone” currently available. It even outsizes Samsung’s Galaxy Mega which has a still-gargantuan 6.3” screen. As shown in the featured picture above, that puny phone on the left is a Sony Xperia Z with a 5” screen. Reviewers who have held the phone in their hand have almost unanimously agreed that this time the boundaries have been pushed too far and that the phone might prove to be too big to be comfortably handled. Still, the same thing was said for the first Galaxy Note, so one will have to wait and see whether the Xperia ZU will be a hero or zero.
I for myself find 5” to be the perfect phone size as it offers plenty of screen estate for comfortable internet browsing, fast texting (as my typing skills on touch displays are mediocre at best) and especially reading e-books – the full-HD display is really amazing and one can safely say smartphones have become media powerhouses in their own right. Still, the boundary line between tablets and mobile phones is becoming increasingly blurred, as conventional tablets start at 7” screens. Does this mean an impending doom for all tablets? Or will phones stop “growing”? Personally I think that with the advent of flexible displays, phone manufacturers will manage to squeeze even 10” screens into a portable enough package, although that would surely mean that tablets would become nigh-on useless. Only time will tell whether this current trend will live on for a while or whether we may even go in the opposite direction and opt for “wearable” technology, such as smart-watches and smart-glasses.