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Samsung sees value in bigger Galaxy Mega smartphones

Largest Mega will have 6.3-in. display

April 11, 2013 02:20 PM ET

Computerworld - Samsung struck again today, announcing two even bigger Galaxy Mega smartphones with 5.8-in. and 6.3-in. LCD HD screens.

The Mega 5.8 and the Mega 6.3 both run Android 4.2 and will ship globally, starting in Europe and Russia in May, Samsung said in a statement. Pricing and wireless carriers have not been announced.

GALAXY Mega 6.3
Samsung's Galaxy Mega 6.3 smartphone. (Photo: Samsung)

The trend toward bigger screens is already well-established with Samsung and other Android phone makers. Samsung's Galaxy Note II smartphone-tablet features a 5.5-in. display, while its upcoming Galaxy S4 will have a 5-in. HD Super AMOLED display.

By comparison, the popular iPhone 5 has a 4-in.display, the first in the iPhone line with a screen of more than 3.5 inches.

Samsung also has a penchant for offering devices in a variety of sizes and form factors. Its four basic Galaxy Tabs have displays ranging from 7 to 10.1 inches.

Samsung manufactures many of its own device components, making the cost of rolling out different sizes of devices more manageable than if it relied only on third-party suppliers.

Still, the increasing sizes of the smartphones has given some analysts pause.

"How many more sizes will we have?" asked Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. The ideal size for one-hand usage is 4.3-in., she said, well short of what Samsung has been promoting in the past year.

She said a small person can use a smartphone with a 6-in. display, but mainly as a phone "and anything more is a push."

Milanesi suggested that Samsung may be offering the Mega as an experiment to see what customers prefer.

"I am not sure Mega is anything other than an experiment to see what consumers like, but that can be an expensive experiment," she said.

It may be an experiment that Samsung can afford. The Seoul-based company sells half of all the Android phones globally, and phones running Android make up nearly 70% of the entire smartphone market globally, according to Gartner and IDC.

But Samsung is also marketing-aware and has invested heavily in advertising its products based on market research, analysts said. "If there wasn't a market for bigger screens, the phones wouldn't sell," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates. "If you look around, you can find an Android device with a smaller form factor -- just perhaps not with the latest Snapdragon or Tegra processor."

Bigger phones tend to use the newest and most expensive chips, Gold said, partly because the overall higher price paid by consumers allows it. While bigger screens make it hard for a one-handed user, they also are easier on the eyes of older users when watching video and surfing, he added. "The market is driving the device selection," he said.



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