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Study: Consumers Prefer Smartphones with Large Screens

Being a blog for and about seniors, we’ve always touted the benefits of larger screen sizes. Whether that screen was attached to a television, laptop or smartphone, the benefits of an ample screen are obvious for anyone who’s had to squint to read a webpage, see the score of a sports game or locate certain keys on a touchscreen keypad.

While this may be true, the general trend in gadgets – particularly mobile devices – has been to decrease in size. This creates thinner, lighter, less bulky models that are easy to transport and use no matter where you are.

That’s why we were a bit surprised at first to see that a new study has acknowledged that seniors aren’t the only ones who are partial to larger features on mobile gadgets. According to NPD Group, smartphones that contain at least a four-inch screen are now the most popular and fastest-selling cell phones out there.

The market research firm said that one quarter of the smartphone market now consists of phones with large screens, with the HTC Evo 4G, Motorola Droid X, and Samsung’s Fascinate, Captivate and Vibrant being the top five sellers. All five smartphones have screens larger than four inches, and all five run off of Android’s operating system.

While iPhone sales haven’t exactly plummeted, the NPD Group said that phones with screens between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches only experienced a two percent increase in sales between 2010 and 2009. This is opposed to the four-inches-or-larger category, which gained a 24 percent marketshare during that same period.

Then there are phones with screens smaller than 3.4 inches. They suffered the worst. Sales for these phones decreased by 63 percent between 2009 and 2010.

The NPD Group believed there were two reasons for this shift toward larger screens. One is that more video and media content is available than ever before on our smartphones. A larger screen is optimal when viewing this content. The second reason is that many smartphones have done away with physical keypads, meaning most users must type their text messages and emails on the screen’s touchpad. Naturally, a larger touchpad is easier to use and less sensitive to mistakes than a small touchpad.

We’re very excited to hear that the general consumer electronics population is trending toward larger screens. This is great news for seniors, as it ensures that those who may need a little extra help in the vision department will still be able to buy the hottest smartphones.

And if you’re an Apple loyalist, not to worry. We hear iPhone 5, which is due out in June, will contain a four-inch screen.

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