2013 may only be a day old, but we already know the year's big new trend with smartphones.
As you'd expect, processors and memory will continue to improve and get faster, but the biggest trend is more cosmetic.
Phones with massive screens that can play full HD video will become the new norm this year.
We got a taste of this a few months ago with HTC's new Droid DNA phone on Verizon. The DNA is the first mobile device capable of playing 1080p HD video and includes a large five-inch screen. (The iPhone 5 has a 4-inch screen for comparison's sake.)
In a recent research note, Barclays Asian equity group predicts that smartphones with screens five inches and above will dominate the market this year. Samsung will likely be the early winner in the category, mostly because its the best at making such displays.
AMOLED panels have become a strong marketing tool for Samsung Electronics, helping it to differentiate its product from competitors such as HTC’s Android products. We believe Samsung’s intention in adopting AMOLED is to prevent its competitors from duplicating the same success, given that OS and other components are almost identical to other handset brands such as HTC.
Samsung won't be the only one to give some strong competition for the iPhone. If Apple doesn't increase the screen size of its iPhone, then the company may fall behind, according to Barclays.
Here's what Barclays reports again:
At last, we expect some strong competition for the iPhone in 2013 with the rise of phablet. In response, we expect Apple to come out with both a larger- and smaller-screen phone in its product line-up by 2014; with the bigger screen version likely to be 4.5 inches and possibly 50-100mn units per year.
Barclays isn't the only one saying Apple will have a new iPhone with a bigger screen. Topeka's Brian White wrote in a research note that Apple could launch multiple iPhone screen sizes this year along with a variety of color options.
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