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4 min read 14 comments

Who needs the world's smallest 4G smartphone?

Another day, another Kickstarter "success" story. Launched at the beginning of May and already funded five times over its initial goal, you can now get your hands on the world's smallest 4G capable smartphone. The question is though: why should you?

To be honest, many, many years ago when I was looking to buy a new smartphone, one of my key purchasing criteria was that it had to be small. The Panasonic A102 seemed to fit the bill quite nicely as it was almost laughably small, but it appeared outside of my regular purchasing cycle so it wasn't really ever an option for me.

Now, project "Jelly" has easily smashed through its initial $30,000 funding goal on Kickstarter. Its core mission is to offer the smallest 4G enabled smartphone in the world - with a 2.45" LCD screen.

But, it seems like too little, too late. This smartphone would have been interesting in 2004. Why 2004? Well, what could you do with a smartphone back then? Phone calls and text messages. And possibly checking your calendar. No one would want to carry around a brick of a phone for just those three functions, so it made sense that smartphones around that time tended to be smaller.

Today, the world is quite different. Smartphones have become the center of our digital life. Emails, messengers, texts, Google, entertainment, photos, shopping, social networks, etc. Everyone is unique and diverse, and how we use our smartphones reflects that. Smartphones do not just have a single job anymore.

Along with battery power, discussing (arguing) about what the ideal smartphone size should be is one of the most popular topics when it comes to smartphones. Some people say that a 5.5 inch smartphone isn't big enough while others question the usefulness of these "phablets". How small should a smartphone be? Everyone has got their own opinion here. There are several good arguments for a smaller smartphone, such as one-handed use, jean pocket compatibility and weight. But one fact remains: the more tasks you require from your phone, the bigger the phone gets. That's why smartphones started getting bigger again, and why manufacturers are trying to get bigger displays into smaller frames.

AndroidPIT iphone se eric 9925
The iPhone SE - almost too small / © AndroidPIT

This trend is best observed with Apple's iPhone. The first iPhone had a 3.5 inch display. With the iPhone 5, the display grew to 4 inches. Two years later 4.7 and then to 5.5 inches. Even the "retro" iPhone SE still has a 4 inch display. You may ask why the iPhone is the best example here. Well, there are 2 reasons. When it comes to smartphones, Apple's product portfolio is very "straightforward" (especially if you compare it to Samsung's smartphone portfolio). Above all, Apple is very adept at registering existing and emerging trends, and manages to incorporate them into their smartphones with very little delay.

Today, it seems like consumers have settled for two sizes: 5 inches and 5.5 inches (give or take .2 inches). Apple uses these sizes, as does Google - and even Samsung has adopted them for its smartphones for years. Due to the fact that manufacturers are trying to achieve creating a bezel-less phone, 5-inch smartphones come across as quite "compact" these days.

jelly smartphone overview
Jelly - small and useful? / © Jelly

So, why design a smartphone with a 2.4-inch display like the Jelly? It is said to be the smallest LTE-enabled smartphone. The spec list points to an entry-level smartphone with limited specs.

The Jelly phone is designed as a replacement for your "main" smartphone if you're travelling and don't want to switch out SIM cards, or just want a lighter and smaller alternative to your main phone. You could also use it as a 4G hotspot. But to be quite honest, due to the fact that there's several apps out there which aren't multi-SIM compatible, such as Whatsapp or Threema, I don't really see myself switching phones just to have a smaller one in my pocket. I don't see it as a justified trade off to have a smaller and lighter phone with a downgraded and limited user experience.

Ultimately, the title "Smallest 4G enabled smartphone" is a hollow promise. If you are looking for a compact smartphone to satisfy your everyday needs, look elsewhere.

What do you think? Is this the compact smartphone you've been waiting for? Could you see yourself buying it?

Source: Kickstarter


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  • C H May 5, 2017 Link to comment

    I am shopping for an iphone because androids are not available in anything under 5"

  • The market for this phone size is hundreds of millions: 2G users. They'd like to go smart, but prefer to stay small.
    No brainer...

  • What a stupid article !!!!
    Obviously there's a call for it otherwise nobody would've funded it !

  • I am really looking forward to try this out. However why would Threema be not multiple SIM compatible? There is not phone number linked?

  • Nice concept but I wonder how easy it would be to use by someone with our vision. Probably not for me.

    •   30
      Deactivated Account May 4, 2017 Link to comment

      yes not really suitable for reading the "small print" like the terms of a cell contract, or a lengthy email..

  •   30
    Deactivated Account May 4, 2017 Link to comment

    my personal criteria for a usable compact smartphone is can I use the keyboard in portrait one handed..
    think that's a no on a 2.45" screen.
    Sony Z5c is about as small a smartphone I can use especially for the smart part..
    for telephony when I want really compact and really light and a battery life of at least 5 days I'm gonna get my old Nokia out..

  • Any builder or those who work in bad conditions would love having this in there pockets,instead of damaging there main phone,just as long they can surf the internet, as I would like to see the number of bad conditions workers who go home from work with a broken screen or dust damaged speakers

    •   30
      Deactivated Account May 4, 2017 Link to comment

      replaceable​ battery but no IP rating.. shame cos IP67/68 would be a great spec and offer something a little more compelling other than size.

      • Mark
        • Admin
        May 4, 2017 Link to comment

        With the replaceable battery the IP rating is not as important. If you get the phone wet take out the battery to prevent damage.

      •   30
        Deactivated Account May 4, 2017 Link to comment

        true, while I agree, personally I'd prefer IP68 as well as removable battery, if I had to choose between I'd go for waterproof.
        been using Sony's Z5c, which for peace of mind has been liberating.. first piece of decent tech I can use anytime anywhere and no worries other than battery life.

      • Mark
        • Admin
        May 4, 2017 Link to comment

        Both like with the S5 would be ideal.

  • Mark
    • Admin
    May 4, 2017 Link to comment

    In the Philippine this would be a big hit. Almost every one has two smart phones if they can afford a "flagship" phone. They have a cheap one they use in public and a good one they use in private or work. This being small the phone snatcher would not be interested in it they would think it a cheap phone.

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