Even inexpensive Android phones now often sport screens larger than 5-inches, and Apple is expected to release a larger-screened iPhone next month. Clearly, bigger screen sizes for smartphones are in vogue right now, but what’s driving this trend? According to a new survey conducted by Jana Research, the demand for big phones is driven by smartphone consumers who want a device that’s better for video consumption.
The survey polled 1,396 smartphone users in nine developing countries, including geographical giants such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia. Although many respondents preferred 4-inch phones for their portability, there’s significant demand for 5-inch and larger devices, largely because of entertainment apps. One question focused on whether users used apps to watch video content, and in all nine countries, a firm majority responded yes.
While these results shouldn’t surprise anyone paying attention to handset trends in emerging markets, they underscore that for many people, a smartphone is their first and only internet-connected computer. Not only will these devices be used for business and daily life, they’re also used as entertainment centers and, for some, as a television replacement.
The widespread use of smartphones for online video in the developing world will not only shape mobile devices but also the cellular plans they run on, because video ends up eating a ton of data. As Google and Microsoft set their eyes on the “next billion” smartphone owners by dropping licensing fees for manufacturers and starting programs like Android One, they should mind the fact that some customers aren’t looking for a smartphone so much as a portable window to their favorite video content.