When it comes to display size, consumers like them big, whether that's the television in their media rooms or the phone in their pockets. Mobile phones with screens 4 inches and larger now make up one-fourth of all smartphone sales, according to a report from the NPD Group.
"The explosion in Web and video content available for smartphones has caused consumers to rethink their phones' sizes," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. "Larger displays offer a richer media experience, as well as a roomier surface for on-screen keyboards."
Smartphones with 4-inch-or-larger screens, such as Samsung's Galaxy S, HTC's EVO 4G and Motorola's Droid X, which debuted just a year ago and all run on Google’s Android operating system, quickly grabbed 24 percent of the market by the end of the year.
The market share for iPhones and other smartphones with screen sizes between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches increased just 2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009.
But it was the smartphones with screens smaller than 3.4 inches that were hit hardest by consumers' preferences for bigger displays, dropping from 63 percent in the latter part of 2009 to just 36 percent of the smartphone market by the end of 2010.
While men still make up the majority of large-screen smartphone purchasers, the study revealed that women are rapidly catching up. In just six months, the proportion of big-screen phones bought by women jumped 10 percent from 30 percent in the spring to 40 percent by year’s end.
The five best-selling Android phones in the 4-inch display category were:
1. HTC EVO 4G
2. Motorola Droid X
3. Samsung Fascinate
4. Samsung Captivate
5. Samsung Vibrant
More phones in this category are likely to dominate the future. HTC just released the large screen, screaming fast ThunderBolt, which runs on Verizon's 4G network. And there are rumors that the iPhone 5 will have a 4-inch display and is expected later this year.