In addition to new product announcements, CE Week was the host of numerous interesting panel discussions. I attended the Mashable Supersession: The Battle Over Smartphone Screen Size, which was moderated by Mashable’s Editor-in-Chief, Lance Ulanoff. The panelists were Ryan Bidan, Director of Product Marketing, Samsung; Ross Rubin, Principal Analyst, Reticle Research; and Helena Stone, Editor-in-Chief, Chip Chick. The main topic at hand for this panel was growing screen size: “Since 2010, the average screen size of cellphone screens has increased by almost a full inch.”
A noteworthy issue that came up was the demands of the female consumer versus the demands of the male consumer in terms of screen size. Seemingly, women prefer a smaller screen size while men prefer a larger screen size. A quick poll was taken from the audience members and it appeared to be so. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s aligning with stereotypical views, but to be honest I couldn’t help but fall right into place. As a woman with a cellphone, I was quick to raise my hand for preferring a smaller screen size.
In fact, I’m really frustrated with the growing screen size of smartphones. It’s not that I’m anti-innovation-I just can’t help but feel we’re moving away from what a phone is actually for. Turns out it’s true. The audience was polled once again for how many times everyone actually uses their phone to make calls. Most people only place a call once or twice a day. That’s astonishing! It’s a phone! That is what it is for! However, when you think about it you probably do the same thing. On the train, I’m playing Fruit Ninja, not calling my mom (I’ll get around to it soon, mom. I swear).
What really makes me crazy, though, is the complete 180 degree change in trend. It’s almost laughable really. If you recall, the trend in phone size used to be all about shrinking the phone. Perhaps you remember the hilarious SNL sketch with Will Ferrell playing a pretentious man with a tiny cell phone (picture below for the curious). Consumers wanted smaller cell phones! I know I did. My first phone was a giant Nokia brick with an awesome Lakers faceplate, and it wasn’t exactly light. So what happened?
Now instead of microscopic cellphones being the exaggerated version of the trend, it’s people placing calls on their iPads. Obviously it’s an exaggeration, but I can’t help but think we’re getting there sooner rather than later. And you’ve got to admit this looks hilarious:
According to the panelists, “It has long been a truism in the consumer electronics field that consumers want the largest possible screen in the smallest possible size.”
And with technology increasing, larger screens with higher resolution are possible. “People want all screen. It’s contributed to the demise of the keyboard.”
Oh yeah! The keyboard! Remember that old-fashioned thing that used to be on your phone? No, not a touchscreen keyboard…an actual keyboard! Frankly, I miss it! (I know, I’m beginning to sound like my father.) However, it sure made texting a breeze. But I’m willing to part with that since it seems it’s not returning any time soon.
What I’m not willing to part with is my ability to place my cellphone in my pocket. Call me old fashioned, but when I’m shopping for a cellphone, I’m not looking for a tablet. I want something that fits nicely in the palm of my hand. So for now I’ll stick with my iPhone 4s, and hope that this never becomes a reality: