Two things smartphone manufacturers are currently obsessed with: firstly, making devices that are anorexically thin, and also churning out wares with seriously massive displays.
Over a year ago, back in September 2011, I penned Land of the Giants(martphones), and I figured I’d revisit the idea, taking a look at the continuing trend for phones bordering on tablet territory (hence the term “phablet”).
How about a little history lesson of sorts, to start off? Before Mobot properly launched, Martin scribbled up the Top Smartphones of 2010, which in itself is an interesting little read.
But what I really care about is the display sizes. Let’s list ‘em:
- Apple iPhone 4 – 3.5in
- Google Nexus S – 4in
- HTC Desire HD – 4.3in
- HTC Desire – 3.7in
- Samsung Galaxy S – 4in
- HTC Legend – 3.2in
- Samsung Omnia 7 – 4in
- Nokia N8 – 3.5in
- RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780 –2.44in (has a full QWERTY keyboard, of course)
- RIM BlackBerry Torch – 3.2in (hybrid QWERTY slider)
So among the most popular and successful phones in 2010, we were pretty much looking at 3.2in to 4in. Interestingly, Martin notes that the HTC Desire HD stands out with a “whopping 4.3in” display. We’d barely bat an eyelid at 4.3in these days.
Also worth noting from 2010 was the Dell Streak 5, a 5in smartphone that seemed insanely big at the time. Indeed, I remember one Dell Streak 5-rocking colleague being relentlessly mocked – and by tech support nerds at that.
Fast-forward to 2011 and Dell pushed the boat out even further with the 7in Streak 7. Alas, it was discontinued before the end of the year, largely on account of being a bit rubbish (133 PPI, anyone?).
Meanwhile, at Mobile World Congress 2011, Samsung leapt to 4.3in with the Galaxy S II, while Motorola let us play with the 4in Atrix, and LG showed off the 4.3in LG Optimus 3D (sigh).
HTC had a notoriously disappointing presence at MWC 2011, but later in the year we met the 4.3in HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XE and HTC Evo 3D. Bigger still were the Android-based HTC Sensation XL and Windows Phone-fuelled HTC Titan, both measuring an eyebrow-raising 4.7 inches.
US manufacturer Motorola later stepped it up with the 4.3in Motorola Atrix 2 and Motorola RAZR.
And not to be outdone by HTC’s giant offerings, Samsung grabbed Google Nexus backing and fired out the aptly named Samsung Galaxy Nexus (4.65in) before the year was out, and – more notably – the game changing 5.3in Samsung Galaxy Note.
Oh, I almost forgot about Sony Ericsson (sorry, guys). Their largest effort in 2011 was the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc (and Arc S) at 4.2in.
Finally, Apple held strong at 3.5in with the iPhone 4S, marking five consecutive years at the same size. Great stuff.
Lots and lots of 4.3in smartphones throughout 2011, but a definite leaning towards even larger displays as we headed into 2012.
This year, manufacturers are clearly thinking bigger is better. Among the giants of 2012 are the Nokia Lumia 920 (4.5in), Sony Xperia T (4.55in), HTC One X (4.7in), Google Nexus 4/LG Optimus G (4.7in), LG Optimus Vu (5in), Samsung Galaxy S III (4.8in), Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (5.5in), and – in the States at least – the Motorola Razr HD (4.7in).
HTC also has the 5in J Butterfly in Japan, known as the HTC DROID DNA stateside. In the UK, we’re told to expect it as the HTC Deluxe DLX. More on this later, incidentally.
Samsung Galaxy S IV specs are rumoured to include a 5in display, which takes the Galaxy S series pretty freakin’ close to Galaxy Note territory. Where will it all end?
Strangely enough, Mobot regulars aren’t overly fond of massive displays (with the exception of a few happy Samsung Galaxy Note users).
What do you think? Are you holding out for a 4.3in quad-core superphone, or more interested in a 6in Samsung Galaxy Note 3? Let us know in the comments.