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If you've noticed that smartphone displays seem to be getting larger, there's apparently a good reason for that: size matters to consumers, and bigger is apparently better.

That's according to a study conducted by research firm Strategy Analytics, which surveyed smartphone owners in the U.S. and U.K. about their size preferences.

Some, of course, have expressed some doubt about the larger display sizes that have become quite common on newer smartphones. And for a seemingly good reason: a larger phone may be more difficult to transport (read: fit in your pocket, purse, etc.).

But 90% the smartphone owners surveyed by Strategy Analytics opted for a smartphone with a larger display when given the choice, and the ideal displays seemed to be in the range of 4-4.5-inches.

According to Strategy Analytics' Paul Brown, "In order for smartphone owners to adopt larger devices, it is important for handset manufacturers to ensure that mobile devices are not too heavy and that the devices remain thin enough for purses and pockets."

The research firm did find a few caveats to the bigger-is-better rule:

  • Smartphone owners want a larger display, but the device itself needs to be thin and lightweight as well.
  • Females are more likely than men to give smaller devices consideration.
  • iPhone owners are less interested in larger display sizes than their Android counterparts.

The latter point is interesting given the speculation around the display size of the next iPhone. IntoMobile's Stefan Constantinescu suggests that "It’s kind of ridiculous when you think about it, that for half a decade Apple has stuck to the 3.5 inch form factor," adding, "That’s more than an inch smaller than most of the superphones that are going to come out over the next few months".

The question for Apple, of course, is whether it believes size matters. There are rumors that it's planning to unveil a smaller, 7-inch iPad later this year as a response to the Kindle Fire, so if Apple is not above listening to the market (as opposed to trying to direct it), we may see a larger iPhone yet.

Patricio Robles

Published 15 March, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)

Andrew Lloyd Gordon

Andrew Lloyd Gordon, Digital Marketing Expert, Speaker and Trainer at New Terrain Limited

Interesting stuff.

I wonder if people in the survey would opt for a different screen size when making calls?

For playing games, surfing the web etc, I completely 'get' the bigger screensize idea. However, when you're holding a Smartphone to make voice calls, a bigger device is harder to hold and more tiring to use.

Of course, the 'ideal solution' is a device which shrinks and expands as we need it to :)

over 4 years ago

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