updated 07:15 pm EDT, Wed March 14, 2012
Strategy Analytics sees Apple out of sweet spot
The ideal smartphone's screen size for most prospective buyers is on the large side, Strategy Analytics determined from a study. Researchers talking to existing American and British owners found that the "sweet spot" for a phone was between four and 4.5 inches, as long as the phone was reasonably thin. About 90 percent of those asked chose a device larger than what they have, although the study didn't gauge how many would buy a larger phone if pressed.
Certain truisms about smartphone habits appeared to hold under scrutiny. Women were more likely to consider a slightly smaller device than a man. Likewise, current Android phone owners were more likely to want a larger device than iPhone owners.
The desire for bigger screens was pinned on a shift towards the mobile web as well as gaming and video, all of which tend to benefit from bigger screens. Phone calls and traditional text messaging have been on the decline among smartphone owners.
Although not a definitive examination, it suggests that Apple may be losing an opportunity to get more users through its current 3.5-inch display. Apple has had no problems becoming the top smartphone maker through its current design. Collectively, however, Android is currently more popular among smartphones, possibly helped by both larger screens overall and a wider range of options.
The range could spark a possible backlash to the latest crop of Android devices from hardware makers insistent that larger screens are always better. The 4.7-inch HTC One X, five-inch LG Optimus Vu, and 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note all fall clearly outside of the size class. Such sizes are known to create genuine usability problems, such as being unable to reach parts of the screen without shifting position, discomfort during voice calls, and trouble fitting into smaller pockets.