Report: Consumers craving big-screen phones

The share of sales for smartphones with screens 3.5 to 3.9 inches has risen a bit, according to NPD Group, but consumers are also gobbling up newer phones with even bigger screens.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

NPD Group

Large-screen smartphones are proving a hot commodity among more consumers, according to a report released yesterday by NPD Group.

The share of sales of the iPhone and other smartphones with screens of 3.5 inches to 3.9 inches has stayed about the same over the past year, according to NPD's Mobile Track report. But new smartphones sporting screens 4 inches and larger have gobbled up share at the expense of their smaller cousins with screens under 3.5 inches.

To back up its findings, NPD pointed to a range of different smartphones by screen size. The overall share of phones that launched last year with screens 4 inches or larger--which include the Samsung Galaxy S, the HTC Evo 4G, and the Motorola Droid--captured 24 percent of the market in the fourth quarter of last year. (Note: The phones NPD cited in this category weren't released until the second quarter of last year.)

In contrast, the share of the iPhone and other phones with screen sizes of 3.5 to 3.9 inches was 39 percent, up 2 percent in the fourth quarter over the same period in 2009. And the share of phones with screens smaller than 3.5 inches dropped to 36 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 63 percent in the final quarter of 2009.

Among the big-screen phones tracked by NPD Group, the five top sellers last year were the HTC Evo 4G, the Motorola Droid X, the Samsung Fascinate, the Samsung Captivate, and the Samsung Vibrant.

"The explosion in Web and video content available for smartphones has caused consumers to rethink their phones' sizes," Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD, said in a statement. "Larger displays offer a richer media experience, as well as a roomier surface for on-screen keyboards. Handset vendors are continuing to push the envelope of pocket real estate to complement the video capabilities of 4G handsets."

Though most of the large-screen models are seen among Android phones, recent rumors have dangled the possibility that Apple will bump up the screen size on the next iPhone to 4 inches from its current 3.5 inches.