Here's What You Need to Know When Doing Big Business on a Small Screen

There is an undeniable trend in the world of business that seems to be only getting more prevalent as time goes by. People are conducting business on smartphones. It started with unnecessary business calls in awkward places. It quickly escalated to calendaring and to-do lists while driving, email triage in line at the coffee shop, and interoffice messaging at the lunch table.

Now, it is full-on Google Docs, presentations, and remote meetings being conducted on a 5-inch screen and a thumb-typing keyboard. The office isn't just mobile; it's pocketable. Even now, Microsoft and HP are attempting to blur the lines of pocketables and desktops further with the new Elite x3. It is intended to be synced with a separate dock accessory into which one can plug a mouse, keyboard, and display. The smartphone becomes the desktop.

But before trading in your portable for a pocketable, you should consider the downsides. There are quite a lot of them that people don't consider until they run into the limitations of such a setup for themselves. It is not to say that there is no way around these limitations, but there are just a few things to consider before making the leap.


A sealed desktop is the best bet for reliable computing today. That is because it doesn't move. Once you set it up, it will likely remain in that spot until it is time to be replaced four to five years later. The chassis will remain unopened in all that time. Even the operating system will see little change, as the vast majority only gets an OS upgrade with the purchase of a new computer.

A pocketable is the polar opposite. It travels everywhere with little to no protection. It gets exposed to the elements such as heat, cold, and rain. It is scraped, bumped, and dropped on a regular basis. And the software is updated every few months. Nothing is truly reliable on a pocketable, especially your big data.

That's why mobile phone data recovery services exist in the first place. On mobile phones, data loss can occur through:

  • Accidental deletion

  • Operating system corruption during software updates

  • ROM flashing

  • Physically damaged screens

  • Password locked devices

Android users are also more susceptible to viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, and the like. No smartphone user is ever completely safe from well-organized, targeted attacks. All of these things can result in the loss of valuable data. That makes reliability a questionable proposition when doing business on a pocketable.


Screen size makes a difference. According to Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business and Management:
... when people can only see a limited amount of their data, they have to remember the rest, which tends to limit them to fewer solutions and fewer strategies. Exacerbating the issue is research that shows that people can only keep five to nine chunks of data in their short-term memories at a time.
As it turns out, doing business on a small screen is ultimately bad for business. On a big screen, there is important, ambient information that is simply unavailable on a small one. Productivity is about accessing and processing information. Less information leads to less productivity. Screen size matters.

Price and Convenience

The HP Elite x3 mentioned above will run you $800 with dock. You still have to supply your own mouse, keyboard, and display to realize any productivity benefits over the typical smartphone. Moreover, you will be running smartphone apps stretched for the big screen, not the more feature-rich desktop apps you might expect.

Alternatively, you can grab a Chromebook and smartphone for a combined price of $500 or less. You can go with an average Windows notebook for a little more. A traditional laptop is still less expensive, more powerful, and more convenient for doing real work than any franken-phone you can put together.

Even so, a lot of people are doing a lot of business on smartphones. You can too. Just be smart about the kind of business you do on them. That is because, on their best day, smartphones are less reliable, less productive, and will never match the price and convenience of more traditional form-factors.