Versatility Makes Large Android Smartphones so Popular in Emerging Markets

August 14, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson


Throughout much of Asia and other emerging markets, larger smartphones are preferred, which is something made clear by the abundance of affordable devices with screens often larger than 5-inches. Here in the West, many prefer to keep their smartphones on the smaller side, with Apple defiantly choosing to stick with comparatively tiny iPhone designs for years and even Android manufacturers like HTC and Motorola aren’t keen on creating flagships with displays larger than 5-inches or so. With these large devices, like the massive Huawei Ascend Mate 2 pictured above, it often makes us think why customers in these emerging markets prefer large devices.

It seems the answer is pretty obvious, and one that any Galaxy Note owner will be able to relate to instantly; they do everything (almost). A report by Jana Mobile, a market research firm, shows that people in emerging markets from South Africa to Indonesia were looking for their next smartphone to be 5-inches or above, which is hardly surprising but it is nice to see these things shown in figures. Jana surveyed 1,386 phone owners throughout emerging markets and the full report can be found at their blog. The biggest question of all however, was whether or not users watched video on their smartphones, and the answer was a resounding yes. The vast majority of countries in the report answered yes to the tune of 62 to 70%, with Vietnam coming in with 86% saying yes. So, with so many users looking to use their smartphones for video, it’s not surprising that a larger display would be appealing.


There’s another big factor here as well; price. In emerging markets, tablets as well as higher-end smartphones are often priced far out of reach for the average consumer. Instead, a more affordable smartphone with a large display can pull double duty, and it’ll often feature much better battery life. Buying a device with a large display that’s comfortable enough for watching video on and that still fits in your pocket is a much more appealing purchase than two devices at a much greater cost. With devices like LG’s G3 packing in a 5.5-inch display into a device not much bigger than a smartphone with a 5.2-inch display a year earlier, it looks like larger displays will soon become the norm all over the world, as demand is only growing.