Nokia Executive Criticises Large Screened Phones
Over the past couple of years smartphones having been getting larger and larger, bucking the previous trend of scaling down technology with each generation. The increasing size of smartphones is largely due to the screens being used, with device manufacturers deciding that bigger is better when it comes for web browsing, video watching smartphones.
Nokia’s Executive Vice President Niklas Savander doesn’t agree, claiming there is a “monster truck syndrome” currently infecting much of the industry. Once different competitors start competing on a certain phone feature, that feature then tends to snowball out of control as each manufacturer attempts to one-up their rivals. It can be seen with smartphone cameras, where each manufacturer will try and increase their megapixel count, even though anything above 5 megapixels doesn’t really offer a great deal of difference in quality for everyday use.
Nokia is guilty of this with their latest Nokia PureView, which boasts a ridiculous 41megapixel camera. These extra megapixels are put to good use on the PureView though, improving the image quality of lower megapixel images, so Nokia can be forgiven. Niklas Savander believes that each smartphone manufacturer is increasingly attempting to bring out the biggest screened smartphone on the market, and that eventually consumers will grow tired of the shenanigans and opt for the smaller phones.
Just 18 months ago Samsung released the Galaxy S which came with a 4 inch screen. In a market that was only used to 3.5 inches the Galaxy S seemed humongous. The Galaxy S2 topped that with a 4.3 inch screen, although the overall phone managed to stay a similar size thanks to a reduced bezel. But Samsung’s more recent handsets, like the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note, have screens around the 5 inch mark. It is at this size that the line between smartphone and tablet becomes quite blurry.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is expected to have a screen in the region of 4.8 inches. While people were able to adapt to the larger Galaxy S2, a phone which went onto become one of the biggest selling of 2011 and also voted best phone at Mobile World Congress, a 4.8 inch Galaxy is likely to be far less popular. Even though the 5.3 inch Galaxy Note has now sold over 2 million units it is nowhere near the 20 million Galaxy S2’s sold, let alone the 37 million 3.5 inched iPhones sold in the final quarter of 2011. From these figures you could almost plot an inverse relationship between screen size and popularity: bigger screens = less popular.
Savander also criticised the tendency to just increase existing properties of phones, such as processor speeds and screen sizes, rather than developing new features and technology. Niklas Savander does have a point, but while 5 inches may be too big, for many people 3.5 inches is too small. The optimum screen size is probably in the region of 4 – 4.3 inches, as adopted by Nokia’s latest flagship the Lumia 900. Being almost identical in design and software features to the Lumia 800 save for having a larger screen, the Lumia 900 will provide a clear indication of just what sort of impact a larger screen has on the success of a smartphone.