For the last 20 years, we’ve been told that the smaller, faster and sleeker a device the better. This smaller device should do everything better than the last device but comes in a shinier and more compact supposedly ergonomic form than ever before.
It started with the games consoles receiving handheld versions and then the mobile phones all got a micro makeover, but then came the portable computer!
The laptop turned into the netbook, which then turned into the tablet, and once the mobile phone had become so small, it was virtually useless as an all in one communication device. The powers that be decided we needed phablets (mobile phones almost the size of tablets) and everything went from smaller is better to bigger is the only way to go.
These trends have continued, and now we have games consoles that come with controllers that have built-in 7-inch touchscreens that give us the ability to play the same games on our huge 60 inch led TVs as well as on the smaller screen built into the controller.
By now most people are aware of the Apple brand and their device size increases, but their latest tablet, the iPad Pro, has caused quite a divide in the tech world regarding its size. 12.9 inches of the tablet, which is anything but handheld (even though you can hold it comfortably but would be hard pressed to use it productively at the same time) seems to have bridged the gap that other brands such as Microsoft had previously tried to fill.
The size of the device isn’t the important part; it’s what it’s capable of doing and how it fits our needs.
Do we send lots of emails?
Do we want to play games?
Are we going to write a best-selling novel on it?
Do we need to update those spreadsheets that are overdue on it?
These are the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves when choosing the latest and greatest gadget upgrade. Currently, companies telling us that our old devices are obsolete, and we’ll be left behind with the dinosaurs unless we go and grab the products they are pushing are coercing our choices.
The truth of the matter is that lots of people don’t even use the devices they currently own to their full potential (playing candy crush doesn’t count). When it comes to actual productivity, a little word processing and email replying doesn’t even begin to test the processing power of the modern handheld device, and with the addition of cloud computing thrown into the mix most of the work isn’t even being carried out by the device.
For example, this article was drafted on a 4-inch mobile phone and then edited later on a laptop utilising Google Docs. The only processing power needed to be the ability to run a Google docs/sheets app on my mobile and a web browser on my laptop, both of which are more than a few years old and are an average size when compared to the new fandangled devices currently being touted by the big brands.
If you need a large screen for graphics and lots of processing power then larger and better is surely the way to go, and there’s no doubt the manufacturers and designers will keep pumping out larger and larger devices until they decide the niche has worn off.