It's no secret that smartphones are getting bigger. In fact, if you simply work from the existence of smartphones like the Droid X and Infuse 4G, you may get the sense that today's devices are slowly blurring the distinction between smartphones and tablets altogether. Which they are.
This never quite made sense to me. On one hand I appreciate manufacturers' efforts to bring the multimedia experience to phones, but its also hard to avoid the contradictory nature of the whole thing. Since when did it make sense to create portable devices that barely fit in your pocket? Or devices that barely last thorough the day on a single charge? Or devices that try so hard to be the perfect portable multimedia experience that they fail to accomplish the most basic things that a portable telephone should be able to do? (Hint: it's not watch HD videos.)
This is why HP's Veer 4G is so important. Roughly the size of a credit card, the Veer 4G harkens back to the time were a cellular phone's most desired attribute was a compact size. As a portable device, the Veer is a clear indication that device manufacturers haven't completely forgotten that not all phones need to be the size of a small moon.
Of course, some reviewers have already panned the Veer, and for one reason in particular. The device's 2.6-inch screen isn't the ideal size for for web-browsing, game-playing, and video-watching. But what if a consumer was never interested in those things in the first place? These type of phone users may not be the ones praising the latest Android smartphone in online forums, granted, but they do exist. There is a big market for former feature phone users who are looking to enter the smartphone space in less subdued manner than picking up something like the Thunderbolt.
And its not like the Veer's small size makes it less capable. Though its 800 MHz processor is sure to make more processor-heavy tasks less feasible, the phone is still quite clearly a smartphone. Likewise, it's also hard to ignore the Veer 4G's $99 price tag, which while accompanied by a two-year contract, will be a compelling bargain for many consumers.
None of this, of course, is to say that the Veer is the perfect phone. As evidenced by a variety of reviews so far, that is hardly the case. In fact, there may be some legitimacy to the claim that the phone is too small and that HP's desire to craft a tiny phone has extended beyond the realm of practicality. Using a 2.6-inch screen significantly increases the chances of accidental input, and the same goes for using the Veer's keyboard.
But I'm willing to give HP the benefit of the doubt, not because I believe the Veer is flawless - it isn't - but because the success of the device may very well show that there are plenty of people who want all the features of smartphone without the ballooning sizes that go with them.