Screen Size People, Screen Size!

What mobile devices and semi-mobile devices will succeed?  What ones will fail?  Which of the exotically-named consumer electronics clamoring for our dollars and time appeal to us – and to others?  What devices will succeed that we want our books, games, etc. on?

We look at these devices and want to know this.  We want to get our best value.  We want to make sure we get the media we create on the more profitable device.  But what will succeed, what will fail?

Well there are many reasons and factors, but I really think people are missing the kind of obvious factor in what makes success in SmartTabletPhoneBooKNet market.

The screen.

The screens of these devices affects what you can do with them, what you can present, and who can actually see the contents.  The various consumer electronic devices are media delivery devices, and when it comes to visual medium, there's one way it reaches your eyes – the screen.

I wish a bit more attention was being paid to this.

Ever seen an iPad screen?  It's gorgeous, it feels almost decadent to watch it display things.

Ever seen a Kindle?  It seems simplistic until your realize the eInk means less chance of eyestrain and your realize how comfortable it is to use.

These are things with damn good screens.

On the other hand you've probably tried to use software on devices where the screen didn't fit (probably a smartphone).  One reason I was stunned by the Samsung Galaxy is despite its hefty price the screen and form were almost ideal for anything – big enough and small enough at the same time.  There are ideal screen sizes for certain devices and pieces of software.

So when you try to predict the success of a consumer device ask yourself:

  1. Is the screen a good enough size to display what people want from the device?
  2. As a developer, does the screen let you deliver what you want to deliver?
  3. Is the screen adjustable/easy on the eyes so people can use it a lot?
  4. Does the device line show display innovation that suggests that screens are being paid attention to.

And if someone makes a smartphone whose screen can expand and contract like a sheet, ala some kind of sci-fi display, look out.  If it's touchscreen, even moreso . . .

Not that I fantasize about that or anything.

Steven Savage