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More Than Half of Android Phones Sold in Q2 Had 4.5-Inch+ Screens

More Than Half of Android Phones Sold in Q2 Had 4.5-Inch+ Screens

Apple will unveil the next generation of iPhone hardware next month, and while some questions still remain as to the exact features of the upcoming “iPhone 5S” and “iPhone 5C” phones, it’s now clear that both will sport the same 4-inch display that Apple introduced in the iPhone 5 last September. According to data from research firm Statista, however, that might be a problem for the Cupertino company’s market share prospects.

Questions of quality and user experience aside, Android has quickly passed and widened its lead over Apple in the worldwide smartphone race, and now holds an enormous lead in market share. This makes Android owners the largest demographic of smartphone purchasers and, while Android devices come in all shapes and sizes, one thing is clear from Statista’s report: they love BIG screens.

Q2 Android Purchases by Screen Size

According to the data, provided by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, over 55 percent of Android smartphones sold in the U.S. during the second quarter featured displays larger than 4.5 inches. That’s up from just 12 percent during the same quarter last year.

Only 16 percent of Android buyers chose devices with screens smaller than 4 inches, and an impressive 15 percent opted for large “phablet” devices with displays 5 inches and larger.

Rumors have persisted for over a year that Apple might launch a 5-inch iPhone but part leaks and supply chain sources make it clear that it won’t happen with this upcoming revision. It’s also hard to tell if the market is serious about “phablet” sized devices or if it’s simply a passing fad. Larger smartphones make it more difficult for a user to quickly interact with the device using a single hand – something that most smartphone users rely on – and they are obviously more conspicuous and slip slightly less easily into pockets and bags.

But larger devices also have their positives, too. Games and videos are easier to see and productivity apps gain much-needed screen real estate. Bigger, brighter screens also appear to consumers to be more enticing, especially in a retail scenario where Americans can fulfill the stereotypical “bigger is better” mindset.

Regardless of what Apple releases next month, the company will still sell tens of millions of units to its loyal customers. The key to ensure its future success, however, is to capture new members of the market and to convert those using Android or other non-Apple platforms.

Despite its mindshare, Apple sells fewer than 15 percent of its iPhones via its retail Apple Stores, with most sales to consumers courtesy of the mobile carriers directly. In this environment, where consumers are standing in a store looking at a row of smartphones from various manufactures, it’s not surprising to learn that the devices with the biggest and most impressive screens are winning.

Assuming that the trend towards larger displays continues, Apple will have to eventually address the market with a 4.5- or 5-inch device. With such a product likely at least a year away, and with Android growing its market share by the day, will it be too late by the time it eventually comes to market?

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Jim Tanous

Aug 26, 2013

676 Articles Published