Phones Are Getting Thinner, Heavier, Larger - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Devices
12:46 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Building Security for the IoT
Nov 09, 2017
In this webcast, experts discuss the most effective approaches to securing Internet-enabled system ...Read More>>

Phones Are Getting Thinner, Heavier, Larger

For a while, it seemed cellphone makers' goal was to build the smallest usable device, but smartphones with touchscreens have reversed that trend--though thin is still in.

Devices like the Motorola Star-Tac and Razr were insanely popular due in no small part to their diminutive size. Now manufacturers are trying to balance users' desire for huge screens with the need for the phone to fit in a pocket and be held up to an ear without causing the user to list to one side.

Consider the Sony Ericsson T68 released in 2002, probably one of the smallest phones to hit the mainstream. It weighed only 84 grams (about 3 ounces) and was easily shorter and narrower than any smartphone today. Phones today are big flat slabs of glass and they are getting bigger.

FierceWireless has put together a report of various phone statistics over the last year and there is a clear trend. If you go all the way back to September 2009 and look at the phones released that month, the average thickness was 15.16 mm, or 0.6 inches. As you look at the last 12 months, you'll see the average thickness decline to just under 14 mm. The iPhone 4 is helping to bring that average down with its svelte 9.3 mm depth.

Screen sizes are on the increase, which should come as no surprise. In September 2009, the average size was just 2.85 in. It has grown to an average of 2.97 in. The iPhone 4 has a 3.5 in. screen. That is nothing though compared to the HTC EVO 4G which is 4.3 in. across.

With larger screens comes heavier devices. Phones are up from 103.8 g a year ago to 114.1 g now. All of that glass the iPhone 4 has brings its total to 137 g--nearly 4 oz.

What about features though? Bluetooth support hasn't really budged, holding in at around 68% for the last two years. Wi-Fi has moved from the sub-25% range in 2009 to over 50% in recent months. Part of that may be driven by carriers trying to offload some of the bandwidth to non-cellular networks when possible.

I don't see screens getting much larger. The 4.3 in. screen is about as large as you can reasonably go without wondering whether or not you have a large phone or a small tablet. Where do you think phones are headed? Will the current mini-tablet form factor continue for several more years or will user needs for things like keyboards or more compact devices drive dimensions in a different direction?

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll