By Stefano on January 21st, 2013
I remember when I first heard that Samsung was about to produce a phone with a five inch screen – the Samsung Galaxy Note.
From the moment I saw it I knew that my iPhone’s days were numbered and that I wanted a phone with a screen that size.
A year on and I have absolutely zero regrets about buying the Note. I did worry that I might miss an iPhone app or two. But to be honest, apart from one London Coffee app that I used quite a lot but isn’t available on Google Play, I have never suffered iPhone app envy.
So today brings news from China Times that Apple is apparently considering launching a phone with a 4.8inch screen called the Math.
Here’s what Tech Digest had to say
According to China Times, the iPhone Math will measure 4.8 inches in size, nearly an inch bigger than the current iPhone 5, and will be positioned as an alternative to large screen “phablet” devices from Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony.
While little is known about the device (and all should be taken with a pinch of salt) the source also claims that the handset will pack in an 8MP camera, provided by Largan Precision.
Firstly is a 4.8inch screen device a Phablet? Not really. You could argue that given the success of the Samsung Galaxy S3 that 4.8inches is emerging as standard screen size for smartphones. Phablets have screens of more than fine inches, well according to Wikipedia anyhow.
If it is true then it shows once again that Apple is prepared to offer bigger screens on its phones and maybe a true Phablet will follow.
Apple needs to move quickly. It has gifted a whole market sector to several of its rivals, and although brand loyalty should ensure that the iPhablet is a runaway hit, Apple will be seen as followers rather than innovators.
It also runs the risk of the whole Phablet market being dominated by Samsung. So catching up, even with Apple’s huge marketing muscle, is going to be no easy task.
I have owned quite a few Apple products in my time, but I would say that I am pretty agnostic about the brand as a whole. I will buy the best product rather than the buy a product from a specific brand when it comes to tech. Quite often this has been Apple, but not always.
However when I swapped my iPhone for the Note a lot of die-hard Apple friends of mine were very cynical and put up the following objections. If you look at these now I think that they are all about loyalty to a brand rather than thinking logically about the way the phones might develop.
1 You don’t need a phone with a screen that big
Well actually you do, or at least some of you do. As phones have evolved the amount of time we spend using them for making calls has diminished compared with texting, messaging, reading ebooks, surfing the web and more. Once you have used a Phablet the iPhone’s screen seems incredibly small and fiddly. There really is no going back. The future of smartphones is all about bigger screens and this is something that seems to have passed Apple by.
2 You look stupid making a phone call with it
Yep, Dom Jolly. Heard that joke so many times before. Yet I noticed on the bus the other day that larger screen phones – including the Samsung Galaxy S3 in this list – actually outnumber iPhones now, so it really isn’t an issue. Besides as I said before we are making fewer calls on our mobiles than we used to.
3 Where am I going to put it?
Most men could easily house a six incher in their pockets -every pun intended. The Note is actually quite slim too so it doesn’t feel especially obtrusive. I appreciate that many women won’t carry a huge phone in their pocket, but then don’t a lot of women carry their mobiles in handbags?
In short I think that the arguments are over and that when Apple does produce a Phablet, as it inevitability will, all the doubters from 2012 will be zealous converts to the Phablet cause.
The future for smartphones
Finally it is worth pondering exactly where will smartphones go in the future? Could screens get any larger? At CES we saw the Huawei Ascend Mate with its six inch screen. Might a seven inch phone be on the cards? Well no, and yes. Samsung is certainly rumoured to be thinking about a 6.8inch Note.
Running in tandem with the development of bigger phones is the growth of smart watches that hook up to mobiles wirelessly via Bluetooth and display messages, social media updates etc and even allows the user to make calls.
Having played with a few of these I can vouch for the fact that we are a long way from the smart watch going mass market. The watches are just too fiddly and not especially easy to use. Ironically what they need is a company who are brilliant at user interfaces to make them work – know of anyone?
But they will get there in the end. So maybe one day you will have a smart watch, or even some other wearable item, that you use for the basic consumption of messages etc, but with a large screen – maybe even 7 inch device – for surfing the web, reading books, gaming and even a little bit of work.
It is a combo that would suit me perfectly.