Screen Size Matters, Dictating Primary Use of Smart Mobile Devices

Today, just about everybody owns a mobile device. Whether that device is a laptop, smartphone, portable media player (PMPs), or tablet depends on many factors.  New research survey results from NPD In-Stat ( outlines respondents' attitudes and behaviors toward key smart mobile devices.  One key finding was that the size of the screen creates an optimal use case for the device.  Specifically, larger screen devices seem to fulfill productive needs while smaller screen devices tend to satisfy communication or entertainment needs.

“The majority of tablet owners have a screen size between 9 and 11 inches—a size optimized for sophisticated uses that require a lot of interaction,” says Stephanie Ethier, Senior Analyst. “The top uses for tablets are web browsing, email, and downloading and using applications, which are productivity-based uses.  The larger screen supports more heavy text consumption and greater user interaction.  Portable media players, which can be virtually identical to tablets except for the smaller-than-5-inch screen, are used primarily to support entertainment-focused uses, like listening to music and watching video.”

Recent research findings include:

  • 47% of the respondents had a PMP with a screen size from 2.5 to less than 5 inches.

  • Apple is the prohibitive favorite tablet device.

  • 54% of the respondents cited personal information management as a top use for laptops/notebooks.

  • Smartphones are the most often used device while watching TV.

This Market Alert is drawn from the In-Stat research,  Smart Mobile Devices: Hardware Determines Usage for Smartphones, PMPs, Tablets, and Laptops (#IN1205221ID), which is based on survey results derived from In-Stat's Technology Adoption Panel of technology users and decision makers who contribute their opinions and insights about technology usage and issues in the workplace and at home. This particular survey is focused on laptops, tablets, smartphones, and portable media players.

  • TAP is a dynamic, online survey panel of approximately 18,000 technology users and decision makers
  • This particular survey yielded 652 respondents. Survey questions were focused on different smart mobile device segments and their top usages.

This research is part of In-Stat's Smart Mobile Devices service, which provides analysis of the market for portable consumer electronics, including e-readers, digital photo frames, portable media players, handheld game consoles, personal navigation devices, digital cameras, and mobile computing devices, such as tablets.

Related In-Stat research:

Computing Devices, Q1'12 Forecast

The Reality and Ramifications of Tablets

Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) by Device, Q1'12 Forecast

Less is More: The Worldwide Emergence of Low-Cost Android Smartphones

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