The days of a standard phone size are gone. 3.5-inch? 4.3-inch? 5-inch? Phone makers are less concerned with which size is right, and clearly becoming more concerned with offering as many sizes as possible.
Case in point: Engadget has surfaced a leaked photo of what appears to be a smaller version of the HTC One, or the One Mini. Obviously, the photo itself isn’t confirmed, nor is the phone, but the picture seems to match up to some earlier leaks, so at least leak volume seems to be lending credibility.
According to Engadget’s source, the HTC One Mini has a 4.3-inch 720p display, a metallic unibody design, Android 4.2.2 complete with Sense and BlinkFeed, and all powered by a Snapdragon 400 dual-core chip. None of this is confirmed, but we do call into question the metallic unibody design, as the picture appears to show a plastic bezel on the phone.
You’ll also notice that there is Beats branding on the phone, as well as the same front-facing speakers that HTC is pushing as a key feature of the One series.
Perhaps more interesting than the phone itself, though, is the constantly evolving nature of smartphone size trends. Remember when Zoolander came out? Derek answered a phone that was the size of a mini army action figure, and finally heard the voice of God.
Before Apple ushered in the era of all-touch devices, small was the new new thing in cell phones. Clearly, that changed. Android manufacturers pushed against Apple in size, knowing that Jobs was reluctant to deviate past the 3.5-inch iPhone screen.
Galaxy devices had larger screens, Droids had larger screens, and HTC jumped on board, too. Until one day, Apple announced that the iPhone 5 would have a 4-inch display, the first time that the size of the iPhone display had ever changed. It was almost unsettling.
Zoom to today.
Android manufacturers are pulling back into 4- to 4.3-inch territory with phones like the Motorola Razr M, the Galaxy S4 Mini, and now the HTC One Mini. Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that Apple is experimenting with even larger screen sizes, according to a recent report by Reuters.
In other words, they’re covering all the bases they can. Perhaps I’m annoyed that my 4-inch iPhone 5 doesn’t fit as snuggly in the pocket of my jeans, whereas a friend of mine could be downright obsessed with the video viewing and gaming experience on his giant Galaxy Note 2.
People are different, and so must their phones be. But it also seems clear that phone makers, while spreading a variety of sizes out in front of consumers, are still looking for the sweet spot.
So where will we land? Your guess is as good as mine, but be prepared for some more back and forth before phone makers have figured out how to please our eyes, our hands, and our pants pockets all at the same time.