xpPhone – Are phones getting too big?

imageMy Twitter friend jamesfongster at The Viliv boys plans to plunk down his hard earned cash on the upcoming (from China) xpPhone.  This FrankenPhone, now available for pre-order, is a phone with a 4.8” touchscreen and a MID with an Windows XP OS.

James my friend, I dunno about this. My experience with the HTC Advantage x7500, a similar device except the OS is Windows Mobile, is that this form factor may not be pocketable, unless you walk around in a lab coat. Think also about your (and my) Viliv S5. It’s also a similar device with the 3G option, except it doesn’t have a slide out keyboard. I wouldn’t want to carry that mini-brick around as my phone.

Does a 4.8” phone make sense? And what implications does this discussion have for the upcoming 4.3” HTC HD2 (aka Leo) and the Archos Android phone?

Another Twitter friend,  Steve “Chippy” Paine of UmpcPortal, questions in Are MID-Phones Too Big to be Buddies? whether even a 4.1” phone is too big. His point is a bit different though. A 4.1” phone is pocketable, though still pretty big in your pocket. Chippy believes that the 4.1” screen is still too small for browsing, perhaps not much better than, say, a 3.5” phone which would be much more comfortable in your pocket. “800×480 in anything less than 4.8” is going to be sub-optimal for full web browsing. [With a smaller screen] either you bump the font sizes up on and reduce the screen real estate or you suffer with a time-consuming zoom operation.”

Chippy’s reference to the 4.8” size brings us back full circle. Web browsing is OK, but 4.8” likely is too large to be pocketable. So under his analysis, 4.3” may be a “tweener”, too big to be comfortable pocketable, but too small for good web browsing.

Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, based on my lust for the HTC HD2, but I hope Chippy is wrong about the 4.3” form factor. But I just don’t know because I’ve never had a 4.3” (or 4.1”) phone. There’s really no way for me to tell without some hands-on experience with that form factor.

The optimum phone size is an interesting question that likely will be further discussed in the coming weeks since the HTC HD2 will be available later this month in Europe.

14 Responses to “xpPhone – Are phones getting too big?”

  • In my point of view it is a great idea. My pants are going to have bigger pockets to meet my digital life standards.I had an Iphone and I did not like its limitations. I have been looking into the Windows Mobile Phones, but this phone running xp seems like it takes modifying your phone to the next level. I wonder if it can handle flash?At my age(20) its not the size of the screen that matters it is the resolution.

    • Alvaro, I guess the attraction of the xpPhone is it could be a convergence device. That is, one device that can do it all. It will be interesting to see if it can fulfill the convergence promise, or instead does a lot of things, but none of them well.

      • “does a lot of things, but none of them well” that is what they say about the Palm Pre.

        I have a netbook that runs xp and i likeit but its still too big to pull out to check the time, or to listen to a podcast while walking across school.=(

      • I agree, If the device isn’t in your pocket, then it’s likely you won’t use it as much.

  • I frequently (still) use the HTC Advantage as a phone but with a Bluetooth ear piece – the same way I use the Viliv X70.
    I personally find the Advantage as a viable option and at times I carry just the screen portion and leave the k’board at home.
    Weight and size are, as you say, introducing portability problems. Roll on fold up screen, then we’ll really be rocking

    • phones need to start projecting its content.=)

    • Steve, how exactly do you carry the HTC Advantage around? Pocket or case? It’s pretty big for my pockets.

      • I have a small, generic belt pouch that I use. It has a fold over flap with a magnetic catch. It will just carry the whole thing complete with leather case but I find it easier to just carry the screen without keyboard. It is too difficult to get in and out the pouch in a hurry if I carry the whole kit ‘n caboodle.
        At times, I have also carried it in an inside jacket pocket – it just fits with keyboard and screen but no leather case – only trouble is that it sometimes separates when pulling it out like this and I am worried I might drop the keyboard.
        BTW. At one time, I stuck one of those round clips to the leather – the sort that fits on a plastic telephone belt clip and one presses a small latch on top to raise the phone out of the holster. It worked well but the case repeatedly flapped open, so I abandoned that idea.
        I guess another idea would be to just have the screen section in a belt carrier and keep the keyboard in another pocket, just for the times when more typing is called for.
        (For txt and small items, I use the cursive method)

      • Steve, thanks for the good info on how you carry that beast.

  • There needs to be a greater selection of blue-tooth keyboards.

  • Hi Genghis!
    If I do end up with a xpphone, it’ll be more of a umpc/mid than a phone for sure! 🙂 I’m addicted to my iPhone 3G so nothing will replace that as a phone device! 🙂

    The xpphone will serve as a replacement for my OQO 02..which I’m sure will bite the dust some day soon.

    • Hi James. That makes more sense. I’m afraid if you tried putting the XpPhone to your ear fast you might knock yourself out 🙂

      Hopefully there won’t be a VistaPhone 🙁

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