The size of a screen


The size of a screen

The main driver today of the size of any device is the size of the screen. As such it’s the defining factor of a purchasing or decision or the ‘fall in love’ moment that a user experiences with a device. It’s also apparent that we all use multiple devices today, in fact we always have.

Remember the world before computers take your mind back and imagine 50 years ago.

legal pad
  • You need to do serious work, you do that on a legal pad or a4 paper.
  • You need to take notes, you do that on a reporters pad. About a5.
  • You need to remember things like addresses, you do that on a notepad or book about 2″ by 3″.
  • You need to glance some information, the time. You use a watch.


Now skip forward to today.

  • You need to do serious work, you use a laptop. About the size of a4 paper.
  • You need to take notes, do something on the fly. You use a 7″ tablet, the size of a reporters pad.
  • You need to remember addresses. You do that on your phone.
  • You need to glance some information. You do that on your smart watch.


The marketing behind almost all of these devices makes us think that the use case for then technology is new but it’s really not. There are few cases that technology creates a use case so perhaps in order to see where thinnest big thing in devices will come from we need to look to the past, to those areas of life that are still analogue.

When you’re staying to understand if that tablet project is needed perhaps look at the types of paper people are using. When understanding if a BYOD or COPE project is needed look to the stationary cupboard, are people bringing theory own fancy notebooks in, or do they prefer the ones in the stationary cupboard?


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Simon May is an Infrastructure Technology Evangelist at Microsoft concentrating on Devices and Services but with special interests in deployment and device management. Simon is a professional public speaker and the author of several books on Windows. Opinions on this blog are his own.