David vs. Goliath: Is the smartphone trying to kill the tablet?

Remember when phones were tiny? Those were the days. Now handsets are moving way past being pocket friendly, and we think we know why.

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen three mobile phone handsets that we’d consider “large”. These are the new Motorola RAZR, HTC Sensation XL, and the Samsung Galaxy Note (we had a quick play with it from another journo, sadly no photos).

Google and Samsung's Galaxy Nexus

Each of these handsets were massive in our hands. For instance, the RAZR features a 4.3 inch screen, the same size as what’s on the Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Evo 3D, and yet the overall size feels much larger.

Recently, Samsung and Google launched a new flagship Android phone, the Galaxy Nexus. This handset boasts a 4.65 inch 720p screen, although because the phone takes advantage of the new “Ice Cream Sandwich” edition of Android (4.0), there are no soft-buttons, meaning that most of the front of the handset is the touchscreen.

Still though, 4.65 inches diagonally is pretty big.

With a screen size measuring 4.7 inches diagonally, the HTC Sensation XL isn't exactly small.


What then of HTC’s Vodafone launched Sensation XL? It launched overnight here in Australia, and it features a 4.7 inch screen. That’s bigger again, and we’re not even sure we have the pockets for that.

And then there’s Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note, the 5.3 inch tablet-phone hybrid that should be landing here in the new year. With a screen size that goes well and truly beyond 3-4 inches and the inclusion of a pen for taking notes, the Galaxy Note is more of a tablet than a smartphone.

With a 5.3 inch screen, the Galaxy Note is one big smartphone.

So what’s going on? Why are mobile phones getting bigger and bigger?