The release of the Samsung Galaxy Note marked an important event in the lifetime of Android smartphones. The Galaxy Note was the first smartphone that featured an exceptionally large 5-inch screen that was seen as a hybrid device between a phone and a tablet. After the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note, the mobile phone market started oozing Phablets like crazy. There are a lot of phones in the market today which are reaching screen sizes of 5 inches or more, not only in the high-end (Samsung Galaxy Note 2: INR 33K) but also at the mid-range price range (Samsung Galaxy Grand Price is around 19.5K). There are even phones like Huawei Ascend Mate with a 6.1 inch screen and Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 with a 6.3 inch screen. In a matter of 3 years, the desired screen size of a common buyer of smartphones has increased from 3 inches to more than 5 inches. Is this just a short-term trend or a long-term change? Before drawing out any quick opinions, first let us have a look at some of the reasons for the inclination towards increased screen size.
Reasons & Advantages For Increase in Smartphone Screen Size
Thinner Phones - Increase in smartphone screen size paves way for OEMs to make thinner and thinner smartphones. The larger the screen size, the larger the surface area an OEM can utilize and arrange the internal components in a way that decreases the overall depth of the phone’s body. Consumers like thinner screens because they are easier to hold and also become quite a style statement.
Enjoyable Multimedia Consumption – The multimedia consumption, for which portable devices like smartphones and tablets are made for, really becomes enjoyable with bigger screens. The increase in screen resolution improves the screen sharpness so that you can’t notice the individual pixels anymore. The reading and browsing experience on such screens provides an experience that is as close to reading real printed media as it can get. The video watching experience also improves with increased screen size. The advent of HD and more recently, full HD displays in smartphones make it even more compatible with movie aspect ratio and quality.
Larger Batteries – Larger screen size, as I mentioned earlier, increases the surface area of a phone there-by making it easier for manufacturers to fit in larger batteries. Batteries of large capacities are increasingly becoming necessary to power up ever-increasing screen sizes and increase in power consumption. We are increasingly experiencing release of phones with battery capacities of 2000 mAh and more. Some phones even come with a battery capacity of more than 3500 mAh providing users with more talk time, longer web browsing time and more entertainment than ever.
But What About It’s Effects On Ergonomics?
In smartphones, you have to trade in ergonomics for large screens. As Steve Jobs once defended, the 3.5-inch screen is perfect as far as ergonomics are considered. But due to increasing pressure from consumers, they were forced to launch a 4-inch iPhone but they tried hard to not ruin their stand on ergonomics by making the display longer but not wider. But the recent Android smartphones tear apart the whole idea of ergonomics with such large screens. But there is one ray of hope with recent releases of Samsung Galaxy S4 and phones like Droid RAZR i. These phones have managed to include a larger screen in a body smaller than their predecessors, which is an impressive feat in itself. They are lighter, slimmer, narrower and thinner than earlier flagships. In-spite of all these efforts, buyers are not as selective or concerned about ergonomics and prefer larger screens as far as what is evident from sales. Just maybe, in a couple of years, we can finally start seeing flexible or bendable screens which can seriously solve problems with ergonomics and desirability of larger screens.