According to a research HTC conducted about a year ago, the best size for a smartphone touchscreen is 4.3 inch. The rationale behind it had to do with dealing with web browsing, video etc. while keeping the ability to reach upper areas of the screen without struggling too much with it.
For a long time I thought that the bigger the smartphone is – the better. Lately I discovered that no matter how big is the smartphone, it will never match the browsing or reading experience of a tablet. And once I got my iPad – it took over all my reading tasks.
My smartphones (yeah, I carry a few… shoot me) changed their roles a bit, they suddenly became… phones… and I learned that for talking, texting, and taking pictures, size doesn't really matter. In fact, phones that are too big, are more likely to feel weird in the hand, and less comfortable to hold and carry. And it doesn't matter how big they get (4.5, even 5 inch) – they are still not big enough to replace a tablet.
To me, therefore, a 4 inch phone will perfectly fit my needs (It's one of my 5 reasons to why the Nexus S is the best Android smartphone to date).
But leave me out of it. What do I know?
According to a new NPD group research, monitoring the smartphones sales in the US, smartphones with screens measuring between 3.5 and 3.9 inches had flat sales volumes (that includes iPhone BTW, with 3.5 inch screen). But those larger than 4 inches saw significant gains in market share in Q4 2010. According to NPD, the five best-selling handsets with screens over 4 inches were the following:HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, Samsung Fascinate, Samsung Captivate, Samsung Vibrant – all 4 inch or bigger.
SlashGear made a very good article about screen size for smartphones. The poll in the end shows that over 50% of the readers prefers a smartphone with 4 or 4.3 inch screen, which is pretty much aligned with what most of the hardware vendors are producing lately: HTC, Samsung, Motorola – are all creating 4/4.3 inch devices.
What about Apple?
Now the rumors about the coming 5 inch iPhone 5 make a perfect sense. When you get used to those popular Android phones or even the Windows Phone 7 handsets, switching back to an iPhone does give an impression that the screen is too small. I'm positive the rumors, as usual, are accurate and soon we will see some bigger iPhones. Finally.
One thing to remember, though, is that Apple used to brag about the consistent screen size in all the models which saved a lot of headache for the developers (who had to struggle with different screen sizes and resolutions when building Android apps) – changing the screen size in iPhone 5 may shake those over half a million iOS apps (that will surely exist by the time iPhone 5 is released)…
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