The Small-Screened High End Android Phone: What Happened?

I'm sure that others have already brought this issue up multiple times in Android Army, but I wanted to ask this question again - What Happened to High End Small- Screened Android Phones. Be prepared to go on a magical journey through the history of Android as we see phones morph from iPhone sized mice to rampaging grizzlies.

The First Android Phones (2008)

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Above is an image of one of the first mass produced and commercially popular Android handsets, The T-Mobile G1/ HTC Dream.

At this point, the device featured a 3.2 inch HVGA touchscreen, which at the time was smaller than some of its closest competitors, most notable the iPhone 3G with the standard 3.5 inch screen. At the time, there wasn't that large of a push to distinguish Android from other platforms by screen size, but that was a weapon that Android wielded and something that was sure to come.

Android's Bursting Variety (2009)

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As you can tell by the title, 2009 brought a wide variety of devices with large variation of screen size, specifications, and styles. One of the most advertised of the devices was the original Motorola DROID, available on Verizon. This, arguably, sparked one of the first major reactions to Android, as it sold more units than the original iPhone did at launch. This device featured a screen size this time larger than the iPhone 3GS at 3.7 inches.

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You may or may not recognize the phone above, but it is the HTC Hero. Surprising to some as we look back now, this Android device headed in the opposite direction than others, opting for a 3.2 inch touchscreen.

Aaaah! What Happened?, and the start of Nexus (2010)

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At this point in time, we start to see less and less 3 inch Android phones and 4 inches begins to establish itself as the new standard. We also start to see HTC lose precedence in the manufacturing of most Android phones of the time, and more consumer-oriented devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S/Fascinate on Verizon begin to come out. However, some phones, such as the one above, the Dell Streak, climb all the way to 5 inches and both consumers and tech enthusiasts alike begin to question if they would ever want a device with a screen this large.

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Above is a picture of the Galaxy S, with Samsung's TouchWiz skin showing through. Consumer-minded devices such as these easily won the popularity of many new smartphone buyers with a 4 inch screen.

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The device pictured above marks the beginning of Google's developed- based Nexus program, which features stock Android devices. This is the first time an Android device is sold directly from Google, and featured a smaller 3.7 inch touchscreen.

High End Small-Screened Devices Disappear (2011)

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At this point, 4.5 inches starts to become the new screen size standard for Android devices, and exciting devices such as the Atrix 4G, Samsung Galaxy S2, Nexus S, and the Droid Bionic make their way to the market. 200px-samsung_galaxy_sii_medium

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Samsung's Galaxy S2 with a 4.5 inch screen, began to truly question the ability to hold phones with large screen sizes such as this one with only one hand.

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A new type of phone called "phablets" make it to the market, which require two-handed use to operate. Its included "S Pen" was aimed more towards business users and consumers who would like to go back to the idea of using a phone with a stylus. The "phablet" pictured above is the Samsung Galaxy Note, which commercial success was very large compared to HTC competitors. It featured a 5.3 inch display.

Small-Screen Devices Have Some High- End Specs (2012)

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2012 brought a very large variety of devices from major Android manufacturers. With Samsung producing a whopping 37 phones a year, and HTC updating its One X line in 3 months, consumers have a variety of devices to choose from. A notable recurrance in the average screen size is noticed over the years, with 2012's average being about 4.7-4.8.

Popular Handsets

Nexus 4 - 4.7 in

One X - 4.7 in

Galaxy S III- 4.8 in

DROID DNA- 5.0 inches

Galaxy Note II- 5.5 in

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2012 brought some small screened high end devices to the market such as the DROID RAZR M, with a reasonable 4.3 inch qHD display, and the DROID RAZR MAXX HD, with the same size. However, these devices wereonly available on Verizon, and a noticeable gap was in the AT&T, T-Moblie, and Sprint markets.

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A Successor to the massive original Galaxy Note makes an appearance, and gains great popularity from the larger-handed consumer for its great battery life and non-Pentile display.


2013: What does the future hold?

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We saw some amazing devices earlier in the year at Mobile World Congress and at separate press events, but none distinguished themselves as much as the HTC One. It's screen size difference from the DROID DNA (5 inches- 4.7 inches) may hold a promising future for those in hope of a 4.5 inch device with 1080p resolution.

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To be honest, Samsung's new Galaxy S4 was a joke. They chose to keep the same plastic body, but instead made the screen size even bigger up to 5 inches from the previous 4.8 on the Galaxy S III. With their obvious market towards women, I don't see how Samsung is going to win any more small-handed consumers over by offering an even bigger device.

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With rumors of the new Galaxy S4 Mini, I don't know how much we can expect from a mid-range device.

That's why I'm leaving it up to you, Android Army. Wjhat do you want from a small-screened Android device? Do you think I'm going in the wrong direction with this? Do people actually want a high end small screen Android device? Let me know that and more it the comments below.