BIG, BIGGER, BIGGEST
Smartphones today are locked in a race to be the biggest, fastest, baddest they can be. If you think about it, that’s pretty much where the PC industry was headed at one point; my CPU has more megahertz than yours, my graphics card can process more (theoretical) pixels than yours, that CPU has more cores and can therefore rip more MP3s and encode HD movies faster than you can.
Smartphones today are going down more or less the same path. Devices with bigger and bigger screens are introduced year on year. Better and faster iterations of processors (and with more cores) debut every other quarter. And while this issue of HWM was being put to bed, LG Display went and took ridiculous to a whole new level by introducing a 5.5-inch smartphone display sporting a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, with a pixel density of a whopping 538 pixels-per-inch (PPI). In comparison, Apple’s iPhone 5’s display is 326PPI, and the Samsung Galaxy S4’s display sports a 441PPI screen.
The PC megahertz wars were eventually brought to a standstill, simply because CPUs (and GPUs) got too hot and consumed too much power. Intel refocused instead on power efficiency. Similarly, the modern smartphone’s only real weakness remains power consumption, as those additional pixels, cores, radios and whatnot all need more power than ever before, especially in an age where being constantly connected is an expectation.
Of course, the PC industry also realized that not everyone rips MP3s all the time, and not everyone bought multi-core CPUs simply to make their video rendering go faster. I can only hope that smartphone makers come to realize that they’re really building smartphones first and foremost, and not devices that only look good when it comes to their laundry list of features, but devices that are actually useful and can make a difference.