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Is 5-inch the New Benchmark for Flagship Smartphones?

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If we remember correctly, there was a time when 3.2-inches was considered huge for a mobile display. But with time, we changed and bigger phones started making its way to the market. Today we live in an era where a 4.8-inch display isn’t considered big enough for a few people, which is strange because this evolution took place within a span of two to three years. This doesn’t mean that our hands have grown, but merely that the idea of a smartphone has changed. More display real estate means more things one can do with it, and of course the added advantage of enjoying media content with ease. So when do we know the time is right to stop? Samsung seems to have had a foresight of the future as it introduced the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note last year at IFA 2011. And the new Galaxy Note is even bigger at 5.5-inches. But thankfully, Samsung has managed to make it as comfortable to hold as possible with some modifications to the bezel area. Regardless, it is a big phone and one can’t deny that. Irrespective of the size of your hands, the Galaxy Note II isn’t easy to use with one hand. But that doesn’t seem to bother much to the users as they wish to see it more as a mini-tablet with the functionality of a smartphone. I will add though that it is a very decent addition to the overly crowded world of Android smartphones.

But HTC recently kicked off another segment in the form of the 5-inch Droid DNA on Verizon in the U.S (supposedly known as the HTC Deluxe elsewhere), and Sony seems to have followed suit with the Odin and Yuga. The new breed of 1080p displays will shortly make its way to mobile phones, and HTC as always is the first to the scene (remember the HTC Rezound on Verizon?). Sony’s addition to the list is a welcome addition as it is always known to be last to the party, but given the kind of changes the company went through last year, it’s understandable. Lest we forget LG, which also has its own 5-inch 1080p display which the company proudly showed off a few months ago. So what this means is that inevitably, we’ll see manufacturers make the jump from the current industry standard of a 4.7/4.8-inch display to 5-inches within a span of a few months.

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That’s growth of a rapid pace, one which no one can stop. This is where the Android platform does exceedingly well, in providing liberty to manufacturers to innovate with their smartphones. But there are always two sides of a coin. The reason I say this, is mainly because there is a high risk of flagship smartphones becoming obsolete within a matter of months with rapid changes in the mobile industry. This is not what a customer wants. When we’re buying a smartphone, we do so with the hope that it won’t be just another handset till at least an year. And Samsung certainly is keeping to that promise as it refreshes its flagship every year, so does every other manufacturer. So the debatable issue is whether manufacturers are moving too fast in the mobile world, or is this an absolute necessity to keep the competitors at bay? The competitors are already at bay in my opinion, considering the kind of sales Samsung’s flagships are seeing. Although there is some competition from the iPhone 5 and the new breed of WP8 devices, it won’t be of much harm to the Android eco system. Then there’s the BlackBerry 10 operating system coming up in a couple of months from now, which we’re all eagerly looking forward to. HTC will be hoping to make up for the losses in the October sales with the Droid DNA and hopefully the global variant of the same smartphone. LG is Google’s best buddy now with the Nexus 4 and we should see the partnership going forward.

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So now we know about the HTC Droid DNA, the Sony Odin and Yuga (which are the same, but for different markets) and LG will obviously want to use that beautiful display it showed off previously and inevitably, Samsung too. It is believed that the chief of Samsung is pushing for the company to use a 1080p display panel for the next Sammy flagship, i.e. the Galaxy S IV. For sure, Samsung will have a unique feature to set itself apart from the rest of the competition, which will be a great boost for the Korean manufacturer. We sincerely hope however that Samsung takes some design inspiration from HTC or even Sony for a smartphone worthy of the flagship status. LG and Samsung belong to the same country and are currently having a little dispute over OLED patents. While we shouldn’t see that affect the development of what’s to come, it should be a motivating factor for the two stalwarts of the display industry to do well with their respective devices.

What do you guys think about the change that’s coming towards us? Are you looking forward to 5-inch displays by HTC, Sony, LG and Samsung?