When will manufacturers finally settle on the perfect screen size?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: January 31, 2014

While nothing may be guaranteed, even when it comes to a market that can sometimes take quite a bit of time to evolve, there are waves that we can see coming from a mile away that just seem to last forever. Our own tsunami, of sorts. Most recently, over the course of a couple of years, our tsunami has been display sizes. We watched the change coming, and there was nothing we could do to stop it. The wave grew bigger as the screens doubled in size.

And still, they keep getting bigger. We should be having conversations about product titles or catchphrases, but we're not. So, instead, we're left with so many gray areas between a phone and a tablet it's maddening.

The growth in our smartphone's screen size was a phase at one point, something that some companies did just because they could, but now it's all too apparent that people actually want big phones. It has to be apparent, because people had to be buying them. If they hadn't, manufacturers wouldn't have continued on this crazy race.

So here we are with "phones" with six-inch displays, and some with even bigger than that. It's at this point that I have to agree with my fellow editor, Anna, when she says that a device's successor doesn't need a larger screen to feel like it's a better phone. And yet, that's consistently the case. From the Galaxy S to the Galaxy s 4, from the Galaxy Note to the Galaxy Note 3, and with so many other examples in between from other companies, it's almost a guarantee that a phone's display is going to get bigger from one version to the next.

So what happens when this phase dies?

Are we going to see the manufacturers settle on a screen size for their devices? Will we see Apple finally release a 4.x-inch device, while Samsung settles around 5.2- and 5.7-inches for its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lineups? What about LG, or Motorola, or even HTC? Will we see all these companies just start releasing phone after phone with the same screen size?

Do you think it's possible that we'll see a reversal? Instead of watching phones get bigger, we'll start to see companies release devices with smaller screens?

I think, more than any other move, we'll just see more of the same. And not that screens will continue to get bigger. I do think that these flagship models, the hero devices, will eventually find a "sweet spot" when it comes to their display sizes, and manufacturers will stick to that. But, at the same time, use it as an excuse to release more phones. To fill the gap that some people want smaller devices, and some want bigger. So we'll see Samsung and HTC continue with their mini and max options, while other companies will surely jump on board. Sony loves to do this, too.

Something has to break this momentum towards bigger phones, and I'm curious if you think it will happen this year, or several years from now. When do you think we'll see the screen size race finally end? And, which screen size do you think each company will settle on? Let me know!