James Rosewell writes:
This year’s CES event in Las Vegas promises to be the biggest yet. It’ll be packed with a diverse collection of consumer-focussed technology, from cloud services to cars, and will see many of the world’s leading electronics manufacturers launching brand new products.
There’ll be mobile phones (although some of the biggest announcements are likely to take place at Mobile World Congress next month), there’ll be tablets, there’ll be gaming devices, there’ll be sat nav – and there’ll be many other products that now include their own mobile data connection.
When you’ve got mobile data, it’s usually an obvious step to add a browser... and before you know it, consumers are browsing the internet from a device that was never really intended to visit conventional web sites.
However, despite the diversity of browser capabilities, screen sizes, operating systems, user interfaces and input methods, we’ve spotted a trend.
Devices are getting bigger. Sat-nav systems now have larger screens. Smartphones are becoming ‘super phones’, growing towards the size of tablets. And – despite the occasional rumour – there’s no sign of Apple’s market-leading iPad launching a smaller-screen iPad 3 or iPad 4.
Is bigger really better? Well, it certainly appears to be more usable. Mobile advertising business inner-active.com recently revealed figures that showed a simple correlation between screen size and click-through rate. Bigger screens meant more responses to online ads, whether it was iPhone vs iPad or BlackBerry vs PlayBook.
Yet could it be that larger displays are simply more popular because they’re closer in size to desktop and laptop computers, while consumers are struggling to use the web on smaller-screen devices because sites haven’t been tailored to fit?
It’s certainly true that ease of use leads to increased usage – which sets a challenge for web designers.
Could ads specifically designed for smaller screen devices and the various input methods available perform as well as their larger screen counterparts? In developing markets where the small screen dominates, the answer to this question will becoming increasingly important for brands wishing to grow revenue streams in these markets.
51Degrees.mobi offers a portfolio of products for web developers and online businesses, including an entirely free mobile device detection solution that can be used commercially. James Rosewell is managing director of 51Degrees.mobi and is also part of the team at TheFonecast.com.