Technology demands bigger trousers!

Close up of an iPhone six in a jean pocket.
Bigger phones, bigger pockets…

Is your pocket feeling the strain? New generation smartphones cost a pretty penny, but we’re not talking about the cost of upgrading your phone.

Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus is over 6” long by 3” wide, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 measures approximately 5.5” x 3”, LG’s G3 has a 5.5” display. Time was when smaller was better, but the sheer size of the latest offerings from the communications giants makes for a lot of computer to cram into your pocket of a standard pair of mens trousers.

But as technology changes, we adapt…

Shrinking

Group of people holding up a variety of mobile phones.
Image source: Ale-ks
The smaller the cooler. Or so we thought.

The first mobile phones were the yuppie technology of the 1980s and were about the same size and weight as a house brick. The concept of fitting one into your pocket had yet to be invented, and in any case, the chances were if you could afford one you were a Gordon Gekko who wanted everyone to see the size of your…phone.

But then phones got smaller – much smaller. In fact, the smallest phones on the market today are so small that they fit on a key ring. At a cost of around £40 the miniature mobiles are a hit with prison inmates. The penalty for being caught with a mobile phone while serving a prison sentence is two years custody and / or an unlimited fine. But the diminutive devices’ lightweight, mostly plastic construction means helps them elude metal detectors and their tiny proportions make them super easy to hide. They’re Ideal for ordering in – and we’re not talking pizza.

Expanding

Woman on iPhone six with a coffee at her laptop.
Image source: Denys Prykhodov
But now? Big is best.

Back on the outside, the first mass market smartphones were introduced in 1999 by the Japanese tech company, NTT Docomo. Bandwidth was narrow, and the screens were tiny, but 40 million Japanese subscribers proved the demand for the technology, and the rest is history.

The newest phones have ballooned in size as demand for ever bigger screens and ever greater functionality has driven manufacturers to compete for the loyalties of notoriously fickle tech hungry customers. And the stakes are high. Think back to the rise and fall of Nokia; in 2007, their share of the mobile market stood at a seemingly unassailable 49.4%. But they missed the smartphone revolution and paid the price. Before their recent sell off to Microsoft, their market share had plummeted to a mere 3%, proof positive that in the fast paced world of mobile communications, if you snooze, you lose.

Trousers

Man walking down the street on his phone with a man bag.
Image source: PP76
If all else fails, get a man bag.

Skinny jeans and large screens don’t mix; since the launch of the iPhone 6 Plus, several people are reported to have complained that their purchase actually bent under the strain of being worn this way. Clearly something has to give…

And it has! It’s a simple solution to a “big” problem; clothing manufacturers are responding to the crisis by designing bigger pockets! Designers like Levi, American Eagle, J.Crew and Japanese fashion label, Uniqlo are just some of the companies going back to the drawing board in a search for design solutions that will see new trousers built to accommodate bigger phones. Or of course, you could always buy yourself a “man bag”!

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