Some tech writers and bloggers have commented that this years Android smartphones may be getting a little to big. I myself like larger phones, but my definition of large is 4.3-inches. I too wondered whether these new generation of 4.7-inch to 5.3-inch devices was the way to go. Mobile carrier O2 conducted a study of mobile phone use, and these are their findings:
Browsing the internet
Checking social networks
Listening to music
I was a bit surprised by the results. The average Smartphone user spend two hours a day on their smartphone, with the predominant activity being web browsing.
My own usage is more like this, from most usage to least:
- Checking and writing emails
- Text messaging
- Voice calls
- Checking social networks
- Instant messaging
- Taking photographs
- Web browsing
My smartphone has replaced my laptop as my primary email and instant messaging device. I still send email from my laptop, but only when I am composing long email. I do not instant message from my laptop anymore at all. Social networking is split between my phone and laptop and really depends on where I am. For web browsing, I only use the phone rarely, more to check something quickly when I am in a store.
When I look at my use, and compare it to O2's findings, I start to understand why the larger 4.7 to 5.3-inch devices are the way to go. People really do not use smartphones as "smarter" phones, but as small computers. Web browsing, social networking and gaming which Are the pre-dominant use of smartphones are traditionally PC activities. If you add watching TV/films and reading books, 58% of smartphone use are for activities where you would ordinarily use a PC or tablet and not a phone.
In the light of this study, it really does look like monster displays are the way to go. Even other phone activities like writing email or SMS more comfortable to do with a large display. A more compact form factor is really on beneficial for handheld calls and as a camera, which only account for 12% of smartphone use.
So it looks like todays "monster" phones are not simply based on a mindless bigger is better philosophy but responsive to what people do with their handheld computers.