“Superphones”? Really?

I’ve started to hear the term “Superphone” pop up from time to time, first last year at a company meeting and industry event, to the latest in one of today’s MediaPost articles (superphones)


Somehow the evolution of the smartphone – our beloved iPhones, Androids, and Windows Phone devices, among others – is becoming super-sized, and mobile industry analysts (and some folks that read them) are defining a new category. Supposedly once the smartphone begins to break the 4″ screen size and the 1GHz processor speed, it has become “super”.

Why? Has your phone become more capable? Will you start to use it more? Will it augment your thinking and multitasking in ways you’ve never dreamed of? What is special about this arbitrary barrier?

On mobile, bigger and faster isn’t always better. It is not a desktop computer. There are trade offs, most notably in battery life, weight, and overall usability. Some of the 4″+ Android devices I’ve tried die after about 6 hours of use, and some of these are difficult to fully use one-handed, making it hard to reach all parts of the screen with my thumb. And, as Apple has shown, tight integration of the hardware and software brings efficiencies in performance, making the processor specs less and less important.

“Superphone”? Seems unnecessary and arbitrary to me.

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