Smartphones War: The Quest For Bigger Screens
2017 was a good year regarding hardware development, more specifically smartphones. After Google’s presentation, we finally have the final picture of all the devices launched by the big players this year.
There’s no doubt that screens were the hardware component that made the biggest impact, with almost every brand trying to reduce the screen bezels to the minimum. I see this as a big improvement as now we can have a bigger screen in a smaller device and almost all of us, intensive smartphone users, require a decent screen size to be able to extract the maximum of all the phone features (and we all want a phone that fits into our pockets).
Xiaomi,Essential Products and Samsung
This trend found a lot of obstacles on the way and almost every brand had to make some big moves to accomplish the bezel-less screen. Xiaomi was one of the first brands making a good device with such a screen – Mi Mix. In order to achieve that, Xiaomi had to move the front camera to the bottom of the device and use a Piezoelectric Speaker, as there was no space for a usual speaker (this was probably the worst problem of the device because the sound was not as good as it is in other devices with normal speakers). Meanwhile, Xiaomi already launched the second version of the phone, Mi Mix 2, and now they were able to put the speaker in the top edge of the device solving the sound problem.
After Xiaomi, Essential Products, a brand founded by one of the Android creators, Andy Rubin, launched the Essential Phone, introducing a “notch” on the top to fit the camera. This change was not popular amongst users because it’s not appealing to have a black small area disrupting the screen. Samsung also went for the edge-to-edge screens with the Galaxy S8 devices, leading to the disappearance of the physical button that all devices used to have.
After all this buzz, everyone was waiting for Apple’s addition to the bezel-less screen quest. After iPhone 8 launch (which has the same screen/body size as iPhone 7) Apple announced iPhoneX with a bigger screen, like so many users wanted. They also had to remove the physical button from the device which lead to the replacement of the fingerprint scanner with the face recognition technology that is supposed to be even more secure. However, Apple went a bit further and added a big “notch” on the top of the screen to put the camera, sensors and speaker. This is not pleasant to see and I’m not sure how well the apps and status bar will work with it, but let’s wait to see how exactly iOS and apps will adapt.
To finish, Google presented his new family of devices. I will focus on Pixel 2 phones, despite I really liked the new Google Home Mini because it’s affordable, simple and has all the possibilities that Google Assistant offers. So, Pixel 2 XL also has a new display, larger than the one on the previous version, and it seems that Google didn’t had to do big changes to get to this screen. They added a speaker in the top and bottom of the device front to give users direct stereo sound (amazing feature in my opinion). Unfortunately, the smaller version, Pixel 2, continues to have big bezels on top and bottom of the device.
Meanwhile, a lot of chinese companies launched a good amount of device models with big screens and some of them are really cheap, so they are a nice alternative for people looking for a big screen but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a mobile device.
Bottom line, these new screens are making the devices more useful, practical and, in my opinion, more attractive. Let’s see if the changes made to achieve this don’t affect the users in bad ways and they will probably do a better work in the upcoming devices. If you like screens like me, you can also check the new LG Signature OLED TV W and get ready to be amazed.