Thursday, October 1, 2015

The iPhone effect, when two is better than one

When bigger ain't better

Choosing the perfect smartphone is a tough decision, while there will always be that ongoing debate about which operating system should you be using whether it be an Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Tizen, Firefox…the list goes on and on. The software is one part of the equation and the hardware will also play a key role in your choice. Over the years smartphones have evolved into a different kind of device, from the initial thought of combining multiple functions into a communication device into an all-in-one device that fits in our pocket. We are living in the golden age of smartphones with manufacturers constantly pumping out new devices and integrating new features into smartphones to make them…well smarter.

Beyond that, smartphones have also constantly jumped up in size, the perfect example of that is with 8 generations of iPhones which gradually became bigger and bigger over the years. The once humble 3.5-inches I now just a relic of the past and the future is with big screened devices.
Phablet - a mobile device that combines the features of a smartphone and a tablet computer and is larger than a typical smartphone but not as large as a typical small tablet.
This trend of big smartphones inevitably started off with Samsung's Galaxy Note lineup which turned out an instant success with the crowd of power users which wanted to do more with their smartphones. Samsung might not be the first to introduce a big phone (HTC did it in the past with the WP7 Titan) but they are definitely the first one which managed to sell the 5.3" Galaxy Note to millions of users. Soon enough every other smartphone manufacturer caught up with Samsung and joined in the phablet revolution with massive smartphones. 

But gradually, this trend somewhat hit the bump as not everyone wants a 5.7-inch smartphone in their pocket. The simple answer to this problem is to build not one but two flagship smartphones which will adhere to a larger crowd. Apple made it clear when they announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last year that bigger is better and that the iPhone will no longer be a one sized fit al solution like what Steve Jobs envisioned. 
iphone-6-and-iphone-6-plus
With Apple being a big influence in the smartphone market, other smartphone builders also complied with Apple's strategy and came up with flagship smartphones that come in two sizes for a wider reach. Companies like Huawei, Oppo, Google, and even Microsoft has joined in to introduce smartphones in two sizes and multiple price points to give users a clear choice when picking out a smartphone that suits their needs.

Well, its 2015 and smartphone makers are now embracing the mantra of building smartphones with two sizes. Samsung which started this phablet trend their version of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with the Galaxy S6 and recently announced Galaxy Note5. Huawei, the proud new member of the Nexus program introduced the Huawei P8 and Huawei P8 Max earlier this year.

So, what does this all mean. While every manufacturer has their own way of calling their bigger flagship, does this mean it’s the end of dedicated phablets. It would make some sense for Apple to do a big and small smartphone because they only launch a new phone every September. But for companies like Samsung which split their announcements into two distinct events, it doesn't quite make sense as we're basically being treated the same (good) experience of the smaller flagship but just in a bigger form factor.

At least companies like Samsung and HTC stopped making 'mini' versions of their flagship device, Sony is still going through the mini version with their Xperia Z5 lineup but their series comes packed with the same great hardware their bigger counterparts feature.

All in all, the bigger smartphone will always still have that extra edge for not only having that bigger screen but also featuring some better hardware options compared to the smaller variant of that flagship device.