If you hearken back to a simpler time, say about, oh, two years ago, you’ll remember when Android phones really started to gain their momentum and skyrocket to the top. You had phones like the DROID X, any of the original Galaxy S series, and the HTC EVO 4G. Over the short period of time from then to now, a myriad of things have changed in our pocket-sized computers but one of the most dramatic changes that has happened has been with that thing that you incessantly stare at on the phone, the screen.
When the DROID X and EVO 4G launched, they became quite popular due to their powerful specs but more importantly, their screen size. At the time that both phones were on the market, most phones didn’t have screens bigger than 4″. Yet the DROID X and EVO came along and changed the way that people looked at their phones in regards to the screen. Suddenly, people coveted the larger screen preferring to have that extra real estate to view things on rather than have maximum portability.
But if you preferred a phone with the same kinds of specs but a smaller screen, then you could find several options readily available. Of course, there was the iPhone which had a 3.5″ screen but if you preferred Android then you had lots of options. For instance, a high-end phone with only a 3.7″ screen was the DROID Incredible, a highly popular option. If you wanted a little more screen but still wanted portability and great specs then one of Samsung’s Galaxy S offerings fit the bill nicely.
Then things began to change as time continued to pass and phones continued to be released. Screens gradually began to conform to the new standard of 4″-4.3″ and specs went with them. Then the Galaxy S II, Epic 4G Touch, EpTouch for short, came out with a 4.5″ screen and great specs to accompany it and that quickly became a new size for screens. That’s when the trend of bigger is better really took hold with manufacturers. Options started to become tighter for people who wanted a phone with a smaller screen and decent specs. Those looking for a high-end phone with a small screen were having trouble finding what they wanted as the high-end specs were being paired with large vibrant screens and small screens were left to buddy up with the lower-end internals.
And progress continued to happen, phones began to release with even larger screens like 4.65″ on the Galaxy Nexus. Those once familiar small screens and good specs became a rarity and small screens were reserved for budget Android phones that often launched on prepaid carriers. Instead, the dying breed was rapidly being replaced by a new class of superphones that weren’t defined by only their guts, but by their external veneer.
But if you thought that things couldn’t get any worse for those lovers of the small screen then think again. Enter the Galaxy Note. Signifying the next evolution of the smartphone, the enormous phablet had a screen that measured at a ridiculous 5.3″. People passed it off at the beginning as a niche phone but after sales quickly picked up, people began to wonder if this is really what’s coming next. Now sales of the original have crossed ten million and the newest member of the Note family, the Galaxy Note II, has entered the picture with an impossibly bigger 5.5″ screen.
And the great divide has fully taken place with all of the mainstream manufacturers releasing their latest flagship phone with 4.7″ or greater screen sizes. They’re selling like cheap electronics at Best Buy on Black Friday but for the people who want a high-end Android phone without the massive screen, luck has run out. The three that come to mind that kind of fit in this category are the HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE, Motorola DROID RAZR M, and HTC One S. Even saying that isn’t exactly truthful as all of them have sister phones that have better specs and of course, a bigger screen.
This theory has been driven home lately with some of Sony’s offerings that bring a smaller screen but lack the powerful internals of their families. But the icing on the cake came today with Samsung’s new option of the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini. The afore-leaked phone was anticipated to be a Galaxy S III put into a smaller body with only a 4″ screen instead of the sizable 4.8″ screen on the actual Galaxy S III. Instead what we got was a phone with a shrunken design reminiscent of the S III. Everything else was different such as 4″ 800×480 screen, 1GHz dual-core processor, five megapixel camera, and other low-end/mid-range specs. Contrary to offering an actual miniature Galaxy S III, Samsung let people down and released another low-end phone with a small screen while further cementing the idea that a bigger Android phone is always better.
While I love large phones, I can’t help but think that Android manufacturers are ignoring a fair portion of the market that’s seeking a high-end phone with a smaller screen. When their options run out on Android, they’re left to look at other platforms and looking them straight in the eye with a tempting proposition is Apple. The largest iPhone, the iPhone 5, is just 4″ but packs a hefty punch in the specs department and therefore can allure people looking for a small, portable smartphone that can hold its own against the big dogs.
But my long-windedness is starting to get the best of me so it’s best to cut it off now and pose the question to you, ladies and gents’. Do you believe that Android has reached the stage of bigger is always better? Or do you think that there’s still hope for smaller high-end phones running Android? Perhaps you have a different view. Use that keyboard in front of you and feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and insights in the comments as I’m ready to hear some other ideas on the matter.