It’s Hip To Be Square: Smartphone Screen Sizes and Shapes are Changing

In the hopes of reviving a once incredibly popular brand, BlackBerry has announced its release on their new Passport phone. The new BlackBerry touts its classic tactile keyboard style, but more importantly it also a increases the screen to a 4.3″ square display. BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the phone’s unique screen dimensions are to increase productivity on phones. The phone will be launched on Wednesday at a no-contract price of $599. But this phone isn’t the first one to dramatically change its screen size and shape. In fact, the increasing of screen size in smart phones is not a new phenomenon at all.

iPhone 6: Apple’s largest smartphone yet. Photo (cc) by Romazur and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

According to’s January article, the average smartphone screen size has nearly doubled since 2007. PhoneArena says this reflects steady seven year increase from 2.59″ to 4.86″ (Does that mean we’ll have 9″ smartphones in 2020?). Even Apple, who ran an ad touting the ‘common sense’ of its 4″ display on iPhone 5, has given in to the demand for larger ‘phablet’ screen sizes with the iPhone 6 (4.7″) and iPhone 6 Plus (5.5″) models. Other popular phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 (5.1″) also sport much larger screens than that of previous years.

So what do larger screens mean for smartphone consumers? Other than the quickly approaching need for larger pockets and purses, large screen smartphones offer users benefits such as a more high definition viewing experience for movies and photos, more space for additional lines of text or notifications, and increased productivity with e-mail and other office-use applications.

Will smartphones continue to grow and change in shape? BlackBerry is hoping that their 1440 x 1440 pixel square display will offer a unique experience to smartphone users, but will this square screen catch on? Maybe there will be other experimentations in shape for smartphones similar to the curved LCD TV’s that are being pushed as the next big thing in home theaters. One certainty you can hold onto is that smartphone producers are going to continue to push and stretch the boundaries of technology to offer greater experiences for their customers. That’s not a terrible spot to be in as a consumer.

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