Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bigger is Better... Right?

It appears the mantra of "bigger is better" has gripped developers of the late as the handsets we see keep getting larger and larger. When most of us first saw the HTC Evo

we thought "Wow, 4.3 inch screen? That's huge!" We were used to seeing smart phone devices such as the iPhone, Nexus One, or N900 that at most sported a 3.7 inch screen. Personally I had assumed this was as large as our mobile handhelds were going to be getting for awhile.

I was wrong, twice over in fact.

In case you are unaware earlier this month the HTC Evo's record for the largest touch screen mobile device was shattered by Dell's Streak

Which boasts a 5 inch touch screen. Now I guess it is still within reason to carry a 5 inch device in your pocket, it provides a good viewing size that is at the same time still decently portable. How long will the Streak hold the "largest screen" award for?

Apparently not very long.

ViewSonic announced today that come October of this year they would be releasing a 7 inch android tablet with "full phone capabilities"

Just me or does something with a 7 inch screen seem obscenely large to be holding to your face to make a phone call with? Personally I am content with the 3.5 inch screen on my N900, if I need any more viewing space than that I am willing to wait the 20 seconds it takes for my netbook to boot.

What do you think, how large is "too large" for a handheld device? Are these larger screens useful or are we getting to the point where our "phones" are really trying to do/be too many things at once?

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Isn't the phone functionality on this just because of Google's restrictions on access to Android Market? I'm sure you can't ship with Market unless the device has specific hardware and a tablet like this without Market would be useless.

  2. I like the EVO size. I have large hands and the EVO fits perfectly. 7" is too small to replace a netbook, but too large to replace a phone. I'll wait for a 10" tablet/padlet, as it will replace my aging netbook and I'll keep my 4.3" phone for calls and email.

  3. I've been using the Streak since it came out and I have to say, I love it! The screen size meets my needs perfectly, however I was intentionally looking for something more "tablet like" rather than just a phone. I think anything bigger would just be silly though, being a fairly tall guy with big hands and big pockets, the streak is just about pocketable without causing many problems. Then again, there are several project management types I can think of who would probably love a 7" or 10" tablet with phone functionality and a bluetooth headset. It would certainly unify the usual laptop/blackberry/headset combo seen in offices around the world.

    I guess its just about requirements really

  4. I believe that phone capability on a device, be it 7" or 10" doesn't really matter; in fact, one could be reading a book, or browsing the web, or studying for school, and be able to text message or make phone calls with a bluetooth headset. Putting a 7" or 10" device to one's head would indeed look quite silly.

  5. To make voice calls on a "phone" like that wouldn't the best option be to use an earbud & lapel mike wired to a 3.5mm jack?

    I really want the Android crowd to produce a 10" slate with 3G and Wi-Fi, and a screen capable of being used as a book reader, plus a web browser ...... and, well everything really.

  6. I think resolution is more important than size. The EVO doesn't seem to gain much on the Incredible for it's added size. I think the pixel density might be greater on the Incredible. I've been amazed at what can fit on phone screens nowadays, and I think we can fit a bit more, just hold it closer to your eye, without making the screens enormous.

  7. For people who ALWAYS have a computer with them, for business reasons, and primarily use web-apps or something that could function on the android platform, a 7-10 inch tablet would not be unreasonable.

    Bluetooth headset will cover them

    The samsung galaxy tab that is coming out soon looks good.