Size Matters: Smartphone Users Crave Larger Screens, Study Reveals

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Large-screen smartphones are among the hottest new trends in mobile communications, according to a recent report from market research firm the NPD Group, reflecting video, Web surfing and social media’s growing importance to today’s user.

Smaller, more compact mobile phones were once a must-have fashion accessory. However, data clearly show that while market share for phones with 3.5- to 3.9-inch screens remains steady, handsets with 4-inch or larger screens are growing at the expense of phones with displays 3.5-inch or smaller.

Smartphones with screens of 4 inches or larger, including the Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 4G and Motorola Droid X, grabbed 24 percent of the market in Q4 2010. By way of contrast, phones in the 3.5- to 3.9-inch category, such as the iPhone, represented 39 percent of the mobile communications field, up just 2 percent over the previous year. However, among phones with 3.5-inch or smaller monitors, market share dropped by nearly half, from 63 percent in Q4 2009 to just 36 percent in Q4 2010.

Last year’s top five large-screen sellers included the Evo 4G, Droid X and Samsung's Fascinate, Captivate and Vibrant trio. Curiously, while men are likelier to buy large-screen smartphones, women’s interest is also growing, with the female share of the market increasing from 30 to 40 percent during the last half of 2010.

“Larger displays offer a richer media experience, as well as a roomier surface for on-screen keyboards,” said NPD Group executive director of industry analysis Ross Rubin. “Handset vendors are continuing to push the envelope of pocket real estate to complement the video capabilities of 4G handsets.”