I got a press release yesterday from Ematic, one of the smaller tablet makers. They've just announced a 9.7" Android tablet, the eGlide Pro X, making it their second budget 10" tablet to be launched in only a few months.
The Pro X has much the same specs as Ematics' other 10" tablet (and pretty much all the latest budget Android tablets on the market). It's running Android 4.0 on a 1GHz CPU with a graphics chip, bevy of ports, cheap camera, card slot, and a minimum of storage.
That pretty much describes Ematic's last tablet, the eGlide XL Pro II. In fact, I can see only one way major difference between the 2 devices: the screen. The older tablet has a 10" screen with a resolution of 1024x600, while the newer tablet has a 9.7" screen with a resolution of 1024x768.
Now, neither screen size is uncommon, but this is the first time I know of where a tablet maker released 2 new devices with similar specs this close to each other which differed by little more than the dimensions of the screen. One is noticeably longer and narrower than the other, and it raised a question in my mind. Do people prefer one screen shape or the other?
It's not a trivial question; there are some use cases which fit one screen geometry better. For example, I've been told that comics work better on a 4:3 screen, and I certainly think that browsing might be better on that screen as well. But for portability, the narrower 16:9 screen on many 7" tablets wins out over the wider 4:3 screen geometry. You can slip a Galaxy Tab or Nook Color in to your pocket because it's so narrow. It also more closely resembles a book, making it a slightly better choice for use as an ereader.
So what do you think about the shape of a screen?