In the early 2000’s, cell phones began a shrinking trend. It was a challenge for manufacturers to make them slimmer and more compact while cramming more features into them. Having a small cell phone was a status symbol. The movie Zoolander poked fun at this when Ben Stiller answered a comically small device.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that the trend has reversed. If they remade Zoolander this year, the character would answer a television-sized device. Cell phones are beginning to grow very large. As processing power increases, manufacturers are including large screens to match. People I interact with feel they are starting to outgrow their usefulness. I caught up with an old friend this past weekend and he expressed shock at the size of my phone’s screen. My Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65 inch screen. That is the limit for me (a few years ago, I said the same about 3.7 inches).
Whether you like it or not, it looks like your average smartphone is about to get a lot larger. CNET reports that a joint-manufacturing venture of Japanese juggernauts is ramping up production of 5 inch screens. Millions of new smartphones will have screens in Galaxy Note territory. Hipster jeans need not apply. The good news, of course, is that processors and screens will become even more incredible. We will have amazing processing power in our pockets, but to what end? Will users continue to buy large devices, or will Moore’s Law catch up to pocket-able sizes. For Heaven’s sake, please don’t bring back the cell-phone briefcase.