smartphones sony xperia nexus 4 aa 1600

It seems that Android smartphone buyers located in the United States have developed a keen taste for larger screens, especially those at around 4.8-inch. Starting in April of this year, the volume of phones at this size have successfully surpassed more “conventional” devices, like the 4-inch panel mounted on the Samsung Nexus S.

This may indicate a general modification of the market taste, but could also indicate increased manufacturer confidence in bigger panels. While the most popular choice still remains the 4.3-inch diagonal screen, an uncontested leader since 2012, bigger phone like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One may soon overtake and become even more popular.

As seen from the graphic representation featured below, the trend in May is a vivid rise of larger phones in favor of all others. As far as the last month is concerned, approximately 19.5% of US inhabitants owning an Android smartphone have opted for a 4.3-inch screen, while 14.7% of them went for larger. On the other hand, 4-inch panels can now be found on 11.2% of all existing smartphones, while sizes smaller than that are fading away: 8.7% for 3.5-inches and just 5.8% for even tinier.

Bigger is better 

android us chart

While the chart itself is restricted to devices with panels smaller than 4.8-inches, the data provided above is quite interesting. It wasn’t long ago that consumers didn’t have many options above 4.3-inches. Before the recent trend in larger phones, such devices were considered “phablets” by some, and to see someone with a phone of that size was rather curious.

After Samsung introduced the Galaxy S3 into the marketplace, perception changed.  One of the best phones at the time, with a classy design that made a bigger screen look nearly perfect, consumers opinion changed. Manufacturers also had a big role in this decision, choosing to incorporate state-of-the-art specifications into larger handsets, and mediocre gear into smaller ones.

The introduction of the so called “mini” phones as smaller variants to popular versions like the Galaxy S3 can also be pointed to as a big factor in this trend. In order to sell more units, manufacturers gave people a cheaper choice, cloaked under the hood of a smaller device. It gave consumers an option in screen size, and bolstered the larger screens place in the market.

Everything is connected

Behind any consumer decision, there is a manufacturer idea and supplier strategy. First of all, smarter technologies usually require more space. To squeeze the same computational power into smaller volumes, that would then have been provided by smaller phones, could lead into increased R&D cost, and more advanced fabrication procedures. In order to make everyone happy, companies opted to sell advanced smartphones with large screens, as well as budget choices with smaller panels.

Secondly, panel suppliers also play an important part in the whole process. If fabricators announce a long shortage for an upcoming period, phone designers and managers could re-think their strategy and try to avoid the predicament. Unfortunately, there are two ways of doing that: change the supplier (which is usually a pretty unfortunate situation), or change the design and marketing strategy.

As far as the future holds, a recent DigiTimes report states that until August 2013, displays with a diagonal between 4.5-inches and 5-inches will be in short supply, due to several handset vendors preparing to release models in the third quarter. Moreover, a critical outage of small-size devices is due to makers cutting production for entry-level handsets. As mentioned in the beginning, bigger will certainly become more popular as time develops.

Alex Serban
Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization it’s his middle name and he doesn't like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.
  • bob

    at this moment, if you wanna go high-end, you only got two choices – iPhone iOS and 4.8+ devices with android. you cant compare galaxy s mini with iPhone. id be more interested in this numbers if the market actually had 4 inch high end phones

    • Skander

      Well you can compare an S4 Mini with an iPhone.

      • bob

        do you? because i can’t, i can barely compare s4 to iphone 5. maybe its because the size is a side effect of samsung not being able to compete with MOBILE phones, so they built something else

        • Skander

          Ah, I see a fanboy.
          Not going to argue with you, stick that iPhone up your bum :)

          • nishantsirohi123

            make sure the vibration mode is on

            these isheep are all the same

            they don’t have several basic features in their devices and they justify it by saying , “who needs it”

    • SeraZR™

      high-end LoLz at iPhone

      • milksop held

        The only high thing is the price

      • bob

        a dual core almost beating the quad core?

  • Jusephe

    And still less than 10% of all android devices that access G-play are 4 inches or more, icluding tablets.

    • Kamal

      That is definitely not an accurate statistic.

    • TheMimic12

      where the heck did you hear that? That’s definitely not right.

    • FrillArtist

      Fabricated figures.

    • DarthPaul

      I think you are referring to the Android Version number, not the screen size.

  • tottyrice

    this is kind of misleading… the graph shows that way bc it’s the companies that are leading the market that way… the reason why bigger screens are going up bc all their latest flagship phones with the best specs have big screen, so they’re in a way are forcing the hand so to say.

  • simpleas

    There is very little reason not to like a big screen that’s still holdable with 1 hand. It’s great really.

  • arcwindz

    As long as the bezel is small, I think big screen is good, I have xperia zl and it’s easily handled with one hand, I won’t go further though

  • RaptorOO7

    I will be waiting to see what the GN3 and HTC One Max (HTC T6) look like, if the rumors on the HTC T6 are true and its only coming with 16GB of internal storage then its DOA to me. For me to move up from the GS4 the phone MUST have at least 32GB of storage on board, preferably 64GB but we know the US carriers won’t get those.

    • artiplier

      Same here…I’m waiting to see what storage options those will come with, but anything less than 32GB is disappointing. I’ve waited for a 64GB version of the HTC one, but no Canadian carrier has it, so hopefully GN3 or T6 will have more.

      I’m still using my HTC Desire with 32GB of storage, and I want my new phone to at least match that, but I’d prefer 64GB.

      • nishantsirohi123

        64 GB
        do you put DVDs in your phone?

        • artiplier

          Not really. I have a few videos, but mostly a lot of music and I like keeping most of my collection on my phone. When I upgrade my phone to a bigger screen, I’d probably watch more videos.

  • nishantsirohi123

    4.7 is my limit
    the size of s3, beyond that the phone is hard to hold in one hand
    even the xperia z feels uncomfortable to hold although not the ZL(maybe the curved back has its advantages)
    the note2 is too big for me

    maybe i shall go for the nexus 4 or the optimus g

  • nishantsirohi123

    sony sure has xperia devices with dual core krait processors with 4 inch displays(WVGA) and 4.3 to 4.5 inch 720p displays

    those are adequately powerful devices
    which are more than adequate for even gamers.