Get Your Daily Serving of Thumb Stretch Here!

In today’s smartphone market if I say “powerful high end phone” what do you think?

I bet you thought about either the new iPhone or a Samsung, HTC, or LG Android phone. These phones are indeed powerful, high end, premium, and fast and have all the latest features. What else do they have in common? Huge screen sizes. The iPhone 6 is the smallest of the bunch and still usable in one hand however on the Android side it seems that every flagship phone is over 5 inches now. This makes it very difficult for individuals with petite hands to handle these large phones.

Is there a market for the small Android smartphone? I believe so. Per our in class discussion regarding new product opportunities one of the many ways to enter the market place is by “Understanding the customer.” Companies recognize that people want smaller phones so companies make “mini” versions of their flagship phones, this is only done within the Android camp; however, these mini smartphones are underpowered so they are not a flagship any longer. There are many articles online about how there should be more small smartphones for customers that don’t sacrifice power and premium feel.

There is a new phone that was just released called the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact that I believe meets the needs of many consumers in the US market. The phone is small and does not compromise on power or premium feel. I think Sony did a great job with the phone because it fills a gap in the smartphone market. Looking at this situation using a hypothetical QFD approach Sony identified a need for a small no compromise smartphone. Sony filled that need by developing a phone with great battery life, a small form factor and high end specifications. Sony related customer wants (small form, performance) to its product how’s by pairing the phone with a powerful battery, great camera, small size and other premium specifications. Sony looked at the requirements of the phone and tried to find relationships between the firms “how’s” so that they could build a phone consumers want. Sony could pair its energy saving software with a powerful battery for better battery life or use its display (TVs) expertise to develop a low energy vibrant display for the phone. Sony had to make some compromises in order to keep the cost and size within reason so Sony had to develop some customer importance ratings such as small size, screen pixel density, battery life, camera, etc. and rate them. Sony then could evaluate competing products against the Z3 compact and see how it compares. Finally, to complete its QFD analysis Sony would compare the performance of the product to the desirable technical attributes. This would mean testing for battery life, screen quality, camera quality and performance, bendiness, etc. Once Sony determines its phone meets the specifications it desires it can then release it to the public.

Going through this QFD approach for a new ‘standard challenging’ product helped me understand the process greatly and really appreciate the effort that goes into developing a new product and building a QFD house of quality.

What you do you think about the trend in smartphone sizes?

Are you for or against the increasing size of smartphone screens? Why or why not?



5 thoughts on “Get Your Daily Serving of Thumb Stretch Here!

  1. Interesting article especially for me, as I used to deal with customer’s needs on daily basis in T-Mobile. I must say that even though Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is not a bad phone and Sony has a lot of cool features for the cameras I think that there are many phones in bellow 5″ besides Sony. For example HTC Desire 612, Galaxy Light and many others. I also noticed that a lot of customer’s with small hands actually prefer large screen phones probably because their friends had those phones. I do think that interestingly enough the comfort doesn’t often play the main role in consumer’s priorities. Do you remember flip phones? I think that Razer was the best phone ever but people don’t use it anymore…I do think that there is a market to fill with a technological development for people with impaired hearing.

  2. I think that the trend in smartphone size is an interesting example of acknowledging the wants and needs of consumers. Apple only recently released a phone large enough to compete with those larger screens from HTC, Samsung and LG. I believe that if a company doesn’t either release something new and innovative, it at least has to release a product that can stand on par with the competition. Your example of Sony’s Xperia smartphone being more compatible with ‘smaller handed’ users is another great illustration of finding a chink in the armor and taking on a corner of the market that feels ignored. Great article.

  3. Quite informative. This trend in phone growth probably has its limits because I don’t see people wanting to talk into tablet phones where their hands can’t even palm the phone. A larger screen size I feel mostly has to do with it being easier to play games or use apps. Though just to clarify, I think most apps don’t require use of using the entire screen space so you could always use your other fingers to press it.

    It is interesting in seeing where phones could go though, only within the last maybe ten years were we actually be able to have internet on our phones. I think the general look of it might be the next big one. I have seen a Google phone that has interchangeable parts, phones that are on your wrist, and bendable phones. I personally like these concepts because they make phones more personalized and easy to carry.

  4. I was unaware that companies see a more compact phone as a way to challenge the recent trend in phones with bigger screens. I feel that companies are looking for a balance between screen size and technology. Seeing the phone is bigger physically means that producers have more room to add different features, but still want phones to be easy to use without overwhelming screen size. I see companies releasing phones that speak to more segments of the population meaning a phone with compact screens and phones with large screen sizes. As we see with Apple who have releases an iPhone and an iPhone plus.

  5. The trend in phone sizes is actually a cycle, or at least that is what I think. It all started with the big brick phones. The trend then turned into people wanting smaller and smaller, therefore, we began to see small flip phones. The most recent trend is thinner, but larger. I personally do not like the bigger phones. I own the iPhone 5S and love its petite size, and I will not upgrade to a bigger phone; bigger isn’t always better.

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