Screen size is a critical determining factor as to whether end users consider mobile devices primarily as productive or communications/entertainment tools. End users tend to classify mobile devices with larger screen sizes in the former category, while placing those with smaller screen sizes in the latter, according to new research from NPD In-Stat.

“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,” said senior analyst Stephanie Ethier. “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,” she explained. “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.”

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Additional findings in NPD In-Stat’s “Smart Mobile Devices: Hardware Determines Usage for Smartphones, PMPs, Tablets and Laptops” report 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.

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