My family celebrates Hanukkah instead of Christmas. Plus, we decline to worship Apple. How irritating, then, that any high-end Android phone you buy this year will slit your stocking due to its enormous form.
This hard truth hit me when I was recently compelled to shop for a new smartphone. The internal screen on my Droid Razr cracked while sitting on a table doing nothing and without having been dropped ... recently. Everything worked, but the broken touchscreen effectively rendered the device useless. So I looked at the most expensive 4G phones Verizon sells, noticed they were quad core, and figured that the extra horsepower would eliminate the sluggishness my old phone had exhibited after one of those monster over-the-air Android upgradess.
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Then I discovered the term "phablet," which in case you didn't know means a cross between a phone and a tablet. If you've encountered one of these, then you know phablets are for people with really long fingers -- or those who like to make two-handed phone calls.
I went to Verizon because it's the carrier with the strongest reception in our area and, unlike T-Mobile, has offered ways for me to continually use more than 5GB per month (what the heck is the point of a 4G connection with a cap like that?). Not to mention I've had 20GB up long before Apple "invented" the 4G phone like it "invented" cut and paste. Anyway, Verizon's selection turned out to be kind of crummy when it comes to top-end smartphones. It actually has just four high-end Android 4G smartphones at the moment.
I decided the Samsungs were out of the question because for whatever reason my wife's phone has consistently fewer bars of reception than my Razr did despite being a newer and fancier Galaxy S III. This is consistent with the other Samsung phones my company owns.
I turned my attention to the HTC One Max. The dimensions are truly breathtaking. I've seen old tube televisions that had a smaller screen size. I'm not going to have bone-stretching surgery on my fingers in order to use a smartphone.
What about a Motorola model? I really didn't want another one of those, not because I was unhappy with anything, but because Google, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that I need only 32GB total (minus all of the useless crap Verizon installs and won't let me uninstall without "illegally" rooting the phone) and no SD card expansion is possible.
Verizon's stupid answer to this limitation, by the way, is that I can use Google Drive -- except mostly I'm storing music and when I fly I can't use Google Drive on most domestic or on any international flights. Also, the "Can you hear me now?" guy hasn't made it out into parts of Durham County, N.C. where I drive or (at least he hasn't checked his data connection). Besides, unless the price per gigabyte comes down significantly and the throttling caps become more generous, I don't think my Amazon Cloud Player or Google Drive are good places to put my media.
I settled on the Droid Maxx. The phone is responsive and the screen is impressive. I hate all the new screen effects, but it seems to have everything I want (except an SD slot). It's not as big as the HTC One Max -- but I still can't hold the phone at the bottom and reach the top search bar with my thumb.
My question to the almighty Google is: Why can't I have a high-end smartphone in a small form factor? Is the Andre the Giant and his posse really your target market?
This article, "Hey Google, why is my freaking phone so big?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up on the latest news in application development and read more of Andrew Oliver's Strategic Developer blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.