In 2017, we note that smartphone screen size has settled into a five to six inch sweet spot. In hindsight, that might well be a wishful thinking. Short respite aside, it looks like phones have only continued to evolve, given the constant battle over specs and panel makers like Samsung.
Heck, even the famous Steve Jobs missed the boat when he declared 3.5 inches a platonic ideal decades ago. “You can’t get your hands on it,” he notes of the 4- to 5-inch Samsung-made screen, “nobody will buy that.”
Now, the comparison is not quite Apple to apple as it used to be. The thing is, hardware makers have been much more advanced in shrinking phones around screens over the past decade. That means a 5-inch phone in 2010 was a very different monster than the 2022 version. Big phones are big, though. In fact, they’re so big that folding the screen in half seems like the only logical way out.
Where, Magical Eric Migicovsky, all the small phones have gone? The man in the back Pebble and Beep (who also acts as a partner of Y Combinator), is saying things with his own (self-proclaimed big) hands. Or, perhaps more accurately, he’s pushing it in someone’s direction in the hope that he doesn’t have to do the notoriously hard work of launching yet another hardware startup.
Noting that the dream of a high-end 6-inch Android phone is dying or dying, Migicovsky gave Small Android phone. “My hope is that we can gather support from the community and convince Google (ideally) or another Android manufacturer to build this phone,” he writes on the website. Google could also be the destination here, as the company has notably abandoned smaller phones with the hardware restructuring that brought us the Pixel 6.
He noted in an email to TechCrunch that he has had conversations with hardware companies and launched websites/petitions in hopes of getting them to see things his way. . “I am busy and happy running the Beeper. My goal is to encourage others [to] do one. ”
The petition cites the following bullet points as a motivating factor for a return to simpler, smaller, safer times:
- Fits in the pocket
- Much lighter
- Easy to use with one hand without dropping
- Won’t fall out of my pocket while cycling
Currently around 20,000 units, Migicovsky believes 50,000 is an attractive point to convince a manufacturer to go all-out on a small scale. “Just one last math, but it feels right,” he said. “Probably ~10 million dollars [non-recurring engineering]which means 50,000 units make a decent profit at [an] Selling price 800 dollars. ”
Ultimately, one wonders, why the rise of smartphones and increased competition seem to lead to homogeneity. It’s certainly not for lack of trying. When I mentioned Palm phone, he replied, “I love that they tried! Besides Light phone 2 really cool, but not as great as the main phone. ” He added that – at the very least – he needed a good camera. That’s certainly not too much to ask for these days.
Launching a new phone company is not impossible. We’ve been keeping a close eye on Nothing and OSOM’s efforts. But one certainly questions the rationality of doing so in 2022, based purely on a potential niche of the market. On his website, Migicovsky makes it clear that he wants others to do it.
“If no one else does, I guess I will be forced to make it myself,” he wrote, “but I really, really don’t want it to be.”