Phablets: Bigger is More, Bigger is Better

By Grace Barry.

Smartphones are getting bigger. People demand and companies supply. Our smartphones are getting bigger because of our evolving needs. Smartphones are turning into tablets – pocket computers, not pocket telephones – multitasking and jumping on the digital ride, be it shopping, social networking, browsing, gaming, messaging or streaming.


According to techcrunch, “Samsung has been championing huge phones for well over a year, introducing its original 5.3-inch whopper — the Galaxy Note — in 2011, and firing out a 5.5-inch successor last year, going on to ship more than 5 million Galaxy Note IIs in the first two months. More recently CES was awash with whoppers – from Sony’s 5-incher to Huawei’s 6.1-inch beast. Even Apple hasn’t been able to stand firm against the ever-expanding waistlines of its rivals, adding half an inch to the iPhone 5’s pane last year, pushing it up from 3.5 to 4 inches.”


The typical behavior of a smartphone owner today involves a lot of swiping, pinching, twisting, and tapping –  more often than not, they having their screen in-front of them rather than up against their ear. When thinking about smartphone screen-size, app design increasingly appears to be favouring gestures rather than buttons  – as this Gizmodo post on design trends astutely observes. “Gestures are great but a byproduct of having your fingers on the screen is that your digits obscure some of the content. So the more screen there is to swipe and prod, the richer your gesture-based interaction can comfortably be.”


Some people can argue that the larger size just doesn’t fit handheld, but as Smartphones users, we always want more screen. Any added awkwardness is outweighed by the benefits of having more glass to play with, which in turn increases the usefulness of the device in several ways, including:

  • For reading: by allowing more text to be displayed legibly on screen without zooming
  • For watching: by making video content more immersive/attractive to view
  • For interacting: by enabling other content (e.g. apps, games) to become richer as more complex types of interactions can be supported — such as split-screen viewing; use of a larger range of gestures/inputs, etc.

See original source here.

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