When The Small Screen Becomes Big

Judging by the advantages of printed newspapers and magazines in terms of better readability compared to the small screen Internet, it’s likely that they won’t be going away anytime soon. However, just recently, I noticed just how much I personally prefer reading the news and tech articles on my mobile phone in many situations especially when I am out and about. Some examples:

  • When going to the train station recently to exchange a train ticket (no in France that is mostly still not possible online…) I took along a magazine I wanted to read while waiting in line. On the way there, I noticed that I didn’t like carrying the magazine. Not that it was heavy and bulky but it restricted my movements because one hand was no longer free. I was close to dumping it on the way home.
  • In the metro there is usually no place to unfold a magazine or newspaper and usually also no place to open the backpack to get it in the first place.

In both circumstances reading the same content on the mobile phone is much more convenient. Sure, the screen size is a lot smaller and one has much less overview over the content. However:

  • The mobile can be taken out of the pocket immediately. No extra space is required for this and its possible even in a very crowded metro.
  • I can read even in the most crowded places.
  • When being distracted I can easily resume reading where I was interrupted because the passage is still on the screen.

So in those situations the small screen Internet is definitely the winner. And I am sure the iPhone 3G will help to increase awareness, even though in my opinion downloading full web pages is much inferior to using OperaMini.

What are your experiences?

5 thoughts on “When The Small Screen Becomes Big”

  1. The comments are spot on Martin. On a commute finding the right reading experience on the phone beats struggling with paper hands down. Not to mention being more environmentally sound. Give Mippin a try – your own personalised Mippin Today is the nearest thing to your own personalised up-to-date newspaper.

  2. Have you tried using the Nokia E90 to read the news? The small screen readability problem is solved by a huge 4 inch monster of a screen. It’s truly a pleasure browsing the net, reading news, etc on my E90. Try it – you’ll never go back to a smaller screen.

  3. Martin, I agree 100%. I’ve been using Google Reader, which has a nice mobile interface and has some web page filter that simplifies pages for reading on a phone. Makes it really easy to read blogs, news articles, whatever. I haven’t tried it vs Opera Mini but I imagine the results are pretty comparable.

    Reading on my phone on the train is also the major reason I’m avoiding the iPhone (and will probably get rid of my AT&T 8525): I find the touch interface is really annoying in this environment because it’s so hard to use one-handed. No one-handed jokes please 🙂 – on the El in Chicago I seldom get a seat, so I have to hold onto the post for dear life. This is ok if I’m just reading, but the minute I have to tap on or (worse yet) type something, I’m back to two hands, and risk falling into unsuspecting riders. My next phone will have a normal keypad for better one-handed use.

    Scott, I haven’t tried Mippin but may try it out. Although one thing I really like about using Google Reader is that once I get to my desktop, it knows what I’ve read on my mobile and I don’t wind up reading lots of duplicates.

    (and no, I am not affiliated with Google 🙂 )

  4. My E62 is best to read while feeding a baby in the middle of the night… don’t have to turn on a light and disturb him, can set mobipocket on autoscroll so I don’t have to fiddle with buttons or pages, get books from Tor.com, the Baen free library, or Project Gutenberg.

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