Big smartphones are set to double market share in 2013

Smartphones with screens 5 inches or greater are set to double their sales this year, according to the number-crunchers. The breakthrough appears to have been lead by Samsung's 5.5 inch Galaxy Note a year or two back (the one with the stylus).

Unlike its clunky big-screened predecessor, the ill-fated Dell Streak, the Note didn't look and feel like a cosmonaut's lunchbox and so lead the way - making it 'OK' to be seen grappling with something larger than an iPhone.

But of course screen size is an issue still and still excites firm opinions one way or another.

I've long maintained that the standard smartphone just got too small, driven by a "smaller is better" logic hung over from the days of the brick. But in these latter days of rich graphics, maps and apps, what's the point of a screen so small you can't see anything clearly on it? My colleague Guy Daniels, on the other hand, doesn't "understand these hideous 'phablets'. You can't put them in your pocket (normal pockets) and you can't operate them with one hand. Yet they are too small to do anything tablet-ish on them. So why?"

A year ago the world seemed to agree with Mr Daniels, today it appears to be moving in my direction.

Not only are we getting smaller tablets - these being the ones that probably most irk Guy - but some pretty big smarties launched as well: all leaping on the brandwagon forged by the original Galaxy Note.

Huawei seems to have won the world's largest smartphone slot with its Ascend Mate, weighing in with a 6.1-inch screen. It gets sane again with the now middling Ascend D2 with a mere 5 inches.

Not to be outdone, ZTE doesn't beat about the bush and styles its five inch offering as the Grand S, which makes up for its size by being just 6.9 millimeters thick. Other sustantial beasts include Sony Mobile's 5 inch Xperia Z and Lenovo's IdeaPhone K5, also at 5 inches.


All these - and no doubt a clutch more to be released at Mobile World Congress next month - are upping the numbers. According to iSuppli, shipments in the 5 inch and above bracket will be 136 per cent up on last year's 25.6 million units to 60.4 million units, and if the trend continues there may be 146 million units being shipped by 2016.

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