Remember when Steve Jobs had a dig at Apple's mobile competition and proclaimed that "no one" would buy their Hummer-like 4-inch-plus smartphones? Well, going by the latest NPD data, that group of "no ones" among US smartphone consumers is now a meaty 24 percent. Separating handsets into screen categories of 3.4 inches and below, 3.5 to 3.9 inches, and those above 4 inches, the stat mavens discovered that the midrange is holding steady, but smaller-screened devices are starting to lose out to their jumbo-sized brethren. No prizes for guessing that Android-powered devices were behind that big sales increase, with the HTC EVO 4G and Motorola Droid X leading the way, followed by Samsung's multivariate Galaxy S range. Now, care to tell us more about our mobile future, Steve?

[Thanks, Skylar]

Disclaimer: NPD's Ross Rubin is a contributor to Engadget.
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The NPD Group: Larger Smartphone Screens Gain in Popularity

Driven largely by sales of high-end Android phones, mobile handsets with screens that are 4 inches or larger now comprise nearly one quarter of all smartphone sales.


PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, March 21, 2011 – According to The NPD Group, a leading market research company, U.S. consumers are willing to give up room in their pockets and handbags to gain a richer media experience on their mobile devices. The U.S. market share for iPhones and other smartphones with screen sizes between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches have remained steady, but smartphones with the largest screens (4 inches or larger) have grabbed market share from devices with screen sizes that are less than 3.5 inches.

Based on the latest information from NPD's Mobile Phone Track, smartphones with 4-inch-or-larger screens, like Samsung's Galaxy S, HTC's EVO 4G and Motorola's Droid X, which debuted in the second quarter (Q2) of 2010, quickly grew to encompass 24 percent of the market by Q4 2010. The market share for iPhones and other smartphones with screen sizes between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches increased 2 percent over the prior year's Q4; while the market share of smartphones with screens smaller than 3.4 inches, declined from 63 percent in Q4 2009 to just 36 percent of the smartphone market in Q4 2010.

The five best-selling handset models in 2010 that had screen sizes of 4 inches or larger were as follows:

1 HTC EVO 4G
2 Motorola Droid X
3 Samsung Fascinate
4 Samsung Captivate
5 Samsung Vibrant

"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. Handset vendors are continuing to push the envelope of pocket real estate to complement the video capabilities of 4G handsets."

While men still make up the largest share of consumers purchasing smartphones with the largest screen sizes, women are increasingly likely to buy them. In Q2 2010 just 30 percent of large-screen smartphone purchasers were women, but by Q4 2010 women represented 40 percent of large-screen smartphone sales.

Data Note: The information in this press release is from Mobile Phone Track – NPD's consumer tracking of U.S. consumers, aged 18 and older, who reported purchasing a mobile phone. NPD does not track corporate/enterprise mobile phone purchases.