Editor's Note:This is a guest post by Gabriela who is a tech enthusiast, passionate about the mobile industry and gadgets. She's a tech entrepreneur and is the co-founder of unlockunit.com
The iPhone is getting bigger and the iPad is getting smaller. This leads one to wonder what the trend actually is. Which one is better, bigger or smaller? As is stated in the title, one is getting bigger; one is getting smaller so where are we headed in terms of future devices?
Nokia started with a big phone and then continued with smaller and smaller phones. Apple started with a big one and continued with even bigger ones. Where will the future take us? What is the trend? Will gadgets continue to become bigger or smaller?
All these questions are leading to speculation as to where the mobile industry is headed and where technology will take us in the future, both on the personal and business level. Although no one really knows the answer, it does help to take a look at the trends to form an individual opinion and to decide where the mobile gadget industry may eventually fit into each of our daily lives.
The Netbook Craze
About five years ago, Asus introduced a new category in the mobile world known as the Netbook which was a mini laptop that only cost a few hundred dollars. The initiative followed a project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology which was established in an effort to provide PCs to students in underserved countries.
The introduction of the Netbook also served a basic need of the consumer to perform general computing tasks such as checking email and surfing the Internet on the go. For this reason, an entry level device at a reasonable price seemed to be the way to go. It represented the possibility that large laptops could eventually be reduced in size for increased portability but at the expense of full functionality. Eventually the Netbook proved to be not good enough as the consumer wanted more. As a result, in enters the tablet PC and the ultra-thin laptop known as the Ultrabook.
Apple and MacBook Air
The introduction of the MacBook Air prompted a new segment for the laptop industry with an ultra-thin laptop at less than one inch thick. This seemed to solve the issue of functionality which was lacking in the Netbook by offering all of the amenities you need to function on the go and without the bulk.
The goal of the inception of the light and thin design was to increase sales in the laptop market and create a very thin line (no pun intended) between the Netbook and the tablet PC. In fact, the ultra-thin laptop PC is a main focus for the processor giant Intel, which aims to increase thin Ultrabooks running on Windows 8 by as more than 50 percent within the next few years.
Enter the Tablet PC
The introduction of the iPad on the market more than two years ago launched the tablet PC segment in the market of mobile gadgets. Although Apple dominates this category, other manufacturers such as Samsung have provided heavy competition for the iPad with other manufacturers competing to see who can come out with the thinnest, lightest, and most functional tablet PC. Then to spark the competition, Apple recently introduced the iPad mini in an effort to compete with increased portability for a tablet PC.
Much like the Netbook, the tablet PC is designed primarily for multimedia consumption with an effort made toward functionality due to the addition of an optional keyboard which can be added to perform office functions. The introduction of Windows 8 coupled with the inception of the ultra-thin laptop by Intel may be a sign that the tablet PC and the laptop may form a union in the near future. Additionally, the longer battery life is also a sign that these two devices could one day become one.
Laptop and Tablets Getting Thinner and Smartphones are Getting Larger
In the midst of the Ultrabook and the race to produce the thinnest tablet PC, the trend in the smartphone industry is for devices to be getting larger. Larger is in terms of the display due to the increased production of the touchscreen in an effort to make mobile devices more comfortable for both the eyes and the fingers.
Although smartphones are getting larger, manufacturers such as Samsung and others are racing to see who can produce the lightest smartphone. The idea is that larger does not necessarily mean bulkier. As a result, many of the smartphones are solidly built to withstand the bumps and drops while still being equipped with higher performance hardware and improved battery life.
It is What’s Inside That Counts
So, when you look at mobile industry trends it may come down to what’s inside that counts and whether or not manufacturers are choosing portability over usability. When you look at the iPad getting smaller and the smartphones getting larger, this may indicate a move toward versatility in terms of accommodating the individual needs of each user.
Mobile devices are here to stay and right now it is all about lifestyle. Do you need a device that is functional enough to conduct business on the go or are you out to perform general computing tasks, consume multimedia, and simply make life easier and better? This is most likely a question that is in the minds of mobile device designers and manufacturers which is why the trends in the mobile market remain so much in question.
Are all small devices worthless? Actually no, but we do hope that manufacturers will make usability and functionality a high priority in the next few years over saving a few centimeters on device size. While consumer demand is geared toward portability, the gadgets should not be so small that they lose their functionality. On the other end of the spectrum, smartphones should not be so large that they are a burden to carry around such as the early days of the laptop PC. As long as the device is portable and fits easily into your pocket it is highly unlikely consumers will downsize to an even smaller device if it means sacrificing features and functionality.