Thoughts on Apple, Screen Size, and Convergence

While there is definitely still a market for smartphones with smaller screens (especially on the low end), I really think that the Apple will need to release a phone with a larger screen in order to remain competitive. While Apple maintains that the 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5 (and 5S and 5C) is the perfect size, they also at one time ruled out an iPhone with a 4-inch screen. Apple made similar statements about the size of the iPad, only to release the smaller iPad Mini to compete with the 7-inch tablets that were gaining market share. Since they bowed to market pressure on these occasions, who is to say the won't do it again? Then again, Apple has never been overly concerned about market share. In the time being, I am really enjoying ads like this one that play on the iPhone's lack of a larger screen.

That being said, one of the reasons (among many) that I switched from an iPhone to an Android phone was screen size. I simply wanted a device with more screen real estate than the iPhone 5S could offer. It may seem like a contradiction, but a phone with more screen real estate appeals to my minimalist side. Huh? How could more screen real estate be minimalist? Well, my LG G2, with its 5.2-inch screen, is both my phone and my tablet. I have no need for a "real" tablet, as I can comfortably perform most tasks on my phone, and at the same time, the phone is more portable (pocketable) than a 7-inch tablet is.

I also find that it's more comfortable to type on the on-screen keyboard of my phone as opposed to the on-screen keyboard of a "real" tablet. I use my son's tablet from time to time to watch video, but I find typing on the on-screen keyboard, even in portrait mode, to be burdensome. In this respect, I feel that in order for one to get any measure of typing related work done on a tablet, a Bluetooth keyboard of some sort is needed. However, that places a tablet set up of this nature into laptop territory, and I just don't find the idea of lugging around a tablet and a bluetooth keyboard appealing.

This leads me to the concept of convergence. I like what Microsoft is trying to do with the Surface Pro and some of the other tablets, like the Dell Venue 8, that run Windows 8.1, where you have a full PC and a tablet combined. However, they fall one step short, because the phone is not addressed. In that sense, think what Ubuntu is trying to do with their operating system is ideal. While the Ubuntu Edge concept did not get the funding it needed, it illustrated what is possible from a convergence perspective. I would love to be able to have a single device for everything. My phone is already my main computing device. It would be fantastic if when I was at home and needed to use my phone as a desktop PC when I needed to do the type of work that a desktop is designed for (such as graphics and video editing), I could plug it into a monitor, use a Bluetooth keyboard, and have a desktop interface made for a larger screen.

I really hope Ubuntu succeeds with what they are trying to do in terms of convergence. Furthermore, I would love to see Google try something like this with future versions of Android (and execute it better than Motorola did with the Atrix). If I was using a Nexus 4, you can bet I'd be running Ubuntu for Android right now.