Portable Doesn't Have to Mean Pocket-Friendly

Commenter Hongo has had it up to here with people denying devices the label 'portable' simply because they can't fit in their pants pocket. He'd prepared a portable primer for today's Speak Up on Kotaku.

port•a•ble /ˈpôrtəbəl/
Adjective: Able to be easily carried or moved.
Noun: A version of something that can be easily carried.

By those definitions, that can apply to anything: From an iPad to a laptop to various power tools to a book, you name it.

Portable ≠ Pocket Friendly

So why is it that when a handheld system can't be carried in your pants pocket, many people seem to toss portability out the window? The DS, 3DS, PSP and PS Vita are all handhelds I would not consider pants pocket friendly. Heck, even the original bulky Game Boy wasn't what I would call a pocket friendly device period. Almost everyone I knew had a carrying case for it and that's how it was transported from place to place.

I have often seen different comments in stories on why this device isn't a handheld or that device isn't a portable: All because it can't fit in your pants. All because of your pants, you say? Yes, your pants. I'm shocked that any guy above the age of 14 can even find room for a DS/PSP when my own pants pockets are already full with a phone, wallet, keys, pocket change, etc. I couldn't even cram my PSP or DS in a pocket if I wanted to unless I was wearing cargo pants or something. Maybe my back pocket, but I hate having things in my back pockets.

The PSP, DS, 3DS and PS Vita are all handheld devices, but I wouldn't ever say that portable and pocket friendly are mutually exclusive, but for some reason many people do so maybe it's just me. If you can carry it inside a coat pocket, jacket pocket or a bag and hold it on your hands, I still say it's portable: Pants pockets be damned.

What's YOUR take on the whole handheld/portable/pocket friendly device debate? Do you think that if it can't fit in a pants pocket it loses the definition of portable and doesn't deserve to be called one? Or do you think that if you can easily pick it up for transport that it's still a portable device?

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(Photo: The Osborn 1 Portable Computer | Maximum PC)