Did You Know: “25% of all smartphones in 2014 had a screen size of 5 inches with the average screen size of phones being 2.91 inches”
At the current pace in which brands are catching up to the large-size-device trend, the upcoming smartphones would require the hands of a giant to operate. How big is big enough for the average entertainment loving smartphone user? It seems that the users have an inclination towards large sized phones, but the exact reason has not been determined. It could be that the large sized smartphones are preferred for their large displays. Some may find the large size quite comfortable in terms of grip and handling.
If you analyse the statistics for smartphone sizes over the past years, then you would notice a clear increase in the size of new models that have come out in the market. “What is the reason behind the increased size?”,“Does a larger size correlate to better user experience or performance?”,“Does the large size provide more space for components?” Let’s find out!
Growth in Smartphone Size Over The Years
The advent of smartphones having a display size of more than 5 inches had been witnessed as a response to deliver better entertainment (audio-visual entertainment options) on the mobile platform. It is this need which drove many companies, including Apple, to increase the size of their devices such that a few of them were categorized as phablets. It is interesting to know that the increased size of the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ made the company the world’s top smartphone manufacturer (as reported in the final quarter of 2014).
If you still feel that smartphones should continue their race to come out with large sized phones (phablets to be precise), then just measure your palm and try to understand the feasibility of such a device. The width of a male’s palm is 7.4 inches (on an average), while the width of a female’s palm is roughly 7 inches. Considering these dimensions, you can very well imagine how a large sized smartphone would feel in your hands. You need to understand that big is not always better. If you need a large viewing device, then it would be better to invest in a dedicated tablet instead of going for smartphones.
Consumer Preference for Smartphone Size
As of now, the market for smartphones is divided in terms of screen sizes where one faction is still in favour of going ahead with size increments, while the other faction prefers to stick to a more convenient screen size that is large enough for comfortable viewing and small enough to allow feasible operation of the device. Check out the following stat representation which clearly shows that a majority of the smartphone users prefer a 5 inch display size.
The problem with a large sized smartphone is that it is a bit difficult to use with one hand. Rick Osterloh, Motorola’s president, commented on the growing sizes of display for smartphones. He said, “Screens have grown faster than hands.” This may appear to be humours but it signals a very harsh reality that the next generation of upcoming smartphones might completely blur the lines between a smartphone and a tablet.
If manufacturers intend to maintain their position in the market, then they need to understand the “perfect display size” that would appeal to the majority of the users. This could, interestingly, give a push to the sales of tablets which would be in demand owing to their large screen sizes. Seems like a win-win situation for brands that have smartphones as well as tablets in their offerings.
Does Smartphone Size Correlate With Competition Levels In The Smartphone Market?
Have you noticed that as soon Android devices lost their competitive advantage (of large sized devices) to Apple’s latest smartphones joining in on the size race, they changed their focus to a “more-appropriate” device size? Apparently, the size game is one that was bugging Apple for quite some time. Even though its devices were state-of-the-art and were reflective of Steve Job’s philosophy for attaining excellence and bridging the gap between art and science. If Steve would have been alive today, then he would never have allowed the iPhones to have size increments. He was in favour of targeting the niche segment with the iPhones. However, things have changed since his demise.
The move to increase the size of the iPhones may have eliminated the competitive advantage of most Android smartphones, but this seems like a futile move because the majority of the devices may be planning to adapt to 5inches as the “optimal smartphone size”.As of now, android based smartphones are looking at a different perspective, specifically a curved display, which could encourage users to choose them over the competition. The only problems associated with these devices at the moment are the high costs (due to the curved display) and the lack of effective mass commercial production (common with the implementation of any new technology).
How Big is Big Enough?
If smartphone manufacturers base their decisions pertaining to the size of the devices on consumer preferences, then they would never be able to get it right. The general user is fickle and does not have a fixed demand with respect to the preference towards comfortable operation of device and / or size. Large screens offer enhanced convenience in terms of typing, but then the large size has its demerits also.
The safest bet that companies can play (and are playing) is to stick to a “conveniently-comfortable” size which is around 5 inches. They could also somehow come up with a large sized device that offers great single handed operation. Probably, this is the reason behind the introduction of curved displays in devices such as the Samsung Note Edge and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge where one can reach over to the important apps or shortcuts by using the curved side of the screen.
Motorola’s Osterloh said, “The key innovation that we’re driving toward is more screen as a percentage of the surface area. We just try to make it more and more screen.“This clearly indicates that the struggle, is in fact, related to achieving the perfect balance between device size and screen size such that the user gets the perception of a large screen even though the actual dimensions of the device may be less.
What are your thoughts on the size of the smartphone? Would you go with larger size of the device or would you rather stick to convenient single handed operation? Voice your opinion in the comments section below.
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