My 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.
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.