Are large screen Android phones destroying the iPhone?

Today in Open Source: Is the iPhone losing ground to large screen Android phones? Plus: Build an open source laptop, and six Linux distros for netbooks

By , ITworld |  Open Source, Android, iPhone

Large screen Android Phones beating the iPhone?
Business Insider thinks that large screen Android phones might be cutting into iPhone sales.

There is an assumption that most tech bloggers are Apple fanboys and girls. Yet when I got in line to see the big Samsung keynote address on Day 1 of the show, the crew from one of Business Insider’s more annoying rival publications were all using Android.

I must have seen thousands of people (not just bloggers) using their phones at CES this year — and I felt alone as I tapped away on my little iPhone 5.

iPhone was once a great phone that offered the height of productivity in its day. But now its screen is too small...

More at Business Insider

The author is right that it's way past time for Apple to release larger screen iPhones. I have an iPhone 5 and I really like it. But the screen does seem cramped compared to some of the larger screen Android phones that are available.

The article is mostly focused on typing as the need for a larger screen, but my own issue is reading ebooks. I like to read while I'm out and about with my iPhone. So a larger screen iPhone would probably be a more enjoyable experience for me than the current 4-inch size.

I don't have much trouble typing on the iPhone 5, but it's certain possible that it might be better on a larger screen in some ways. I'd have to try it to be sure though. Right now typing just isn't a prime motivator to get a larger screen phone.

Apple's lack of larger screen iPhones may be hurting its margins, as well as its sales. Samsung seems to be doing very well with its Galaxy Note 3 phablet.

Samsung's latest flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note III, is its most successful ever. The device, which is too small to be a tablet, yet too large to be considered a traditional smartphone, has shipped 10 million units since its launch in October. Although Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended his company's decisions, Apple's steadfast refusal to enter the phablet market could be costing the company sales.

Apple's iOS is now the only major smartphone operating system not available on a phablet, as Nokia's new devices have brought Windows Phone to an audience that demands a bigger screen.

More at Daily Finance

Of course we should note that the article says Samsung shipped ten million units of the Galaxy Note 3. We don't know how many of those shipments were actually final sales of the product.

At this point I believe Apple is well aware of the need for larger screen iPhones. Rumors are already swirling about the iPhone possibly being offered in three different sizes later this year.

Speculation has been rife that Apple’s 2014 iPhone, dubbed the “iPhone 6,” is likely to feature a display measuring between 4.8 inches to 6 inches. And now, a new report from China’s Sina Weibo has reported that the Cupertino-based technology giant is planning to introduce two iPhones later this year, featuring 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch screens.

More at International Business Times

So it seems clear that Apple has something larger up their sleeves for the iPhone. We'll just have to sit tight and see what they announce later this year. In the meantime Apple still seems to be selling quite a lot of iPhones, even without larger screens.

I suspect that Android phone manufacturers won't be very happy once Apple enters the larger screen phone market. I have a friend who switched to Android because he needed a larger phone, but he's already said that he'll switch back to the iPhone once larger models are available. I wonder how many people like him are out there using Android phones right now?

Some folks on the web have been doing experimental designs of what larger screen iPhones might look like. It's always interesting to see what people who don't work for Apple come up with, some of the designs are quite unique.

iPhone 5 is still the best looking phone today. Competition is not standing still. Some nice "premium" phones are coming out from other companies. It makes me wonder what will Apple do to stay on top, and beat out the competition.

This is how I imagine the iPhone 6.

Large Screen iPhones in Multiple Sizes
Image credit: iPack3d.com

More at iPack3d.com

I hadn't thought of an iPad 6 mini, but I suppose there are folks out there who might actually want a smaller iPhone instead of a larger one. That would really go against the conventional wisdom about larger screen phones though, I'm not sure if Apple would actually do it.

How to build an open source laptop
MAKE has an article that shows you how to build an open source laptop.

About a year and a half ago, I engaged on an admittedly quixotic project to build my own laptop. By I, I mean we, namely Sean “xobs” Cross and me, bunnie. Building your own laptop makes about as much sense as retrofitting a Honda Civic with a 1000hp motor, but the lack of practicality never stopped the latter activity, nor ours.

My primary goal in building a laptop was to build something I would use every day. I had previously spent several years at Chumby building hardware platforms that I’m ashamed to admit I rarely used. My parents and siblings loved those little boxes, but they weren’t powerful enough for a geek like me.

 
Image credit: MAKE

More at MAKE

While I don't think the prototype is going to win any awards for aesthetics, it's still a great achievement. Kudos to the folks who built it, I wish them well as they continue to develop their project. I hope others follow in their footsteps.

Six Linux distros for netbooks
Everyday Linux User has a roundup of six Linux distros that work well with netbooks.

The key to a good netbook operating system is that it needs to fully utilise its resources. Memory usage has to be kept to a minimum when running idle. The screen is smaller so you need to have a very intuitive navigation system that doesn’t clutter the screen.

So here is a list of another 6 great Linux operating systems for Netbooks.

AntiX
SparkyLinux
Lubuntu
OS4 OpenLinux
Point Linux
Elementary OS

 
Image credit: Everyday Linux User

More at Everyday Linux User

If I had to choose from this list, I'd probably go with AntiX. It's probably the best in terms of minimizing operating system overhead for a netbook. I've always liked IceWM too so that's a definite plus for me.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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