NYTimes.com has a piece from Wednesday about several popular mobile apps that are better than their “parent” websites (using Zillow and Yelp as examples). What struck me when I first opened the page on my laptop after following a link to it on Twitter was how the NYTimes.com web experience stacks up to their own mobile app.
Many critics of smartphone reading lament the relatively small screen real estate, but a look at how a site like NYTimes.com actually uses the extra real estate a laptop browser offers is instructive:
I count about 50 words from the story visible on that page, with most of the screen taken up by navigation, ads, and whitespace.
Looking at a similar article on the NYT iPhone app, you actually get more of the article text (more than 70 words) before you have to scroll down:
Having a larger screen size is only an improvement if you actually take advantage of the larger screen size (conversely, the smaller screen of a smartphone imposes constraints that result in a much better reading experience).