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Mid-sized smartphones like Apple's iPhone see most usage, 'phablets' a fad - report

Smartphones around the size of Apple's iPhones are seeing the most regular usage among device owners, a new study says, while larger-screened phablets are something of a fad.

A new report out from Flurry Analytics on Monday took a look at the proliferation of screen sizes and form factors in the mobile device sector, finding that mid-size phones — phones with screen diagonals between 3.5 and 4.9 inches — make up the majority of device models detected in Flurry's network. Smaller-screened devices such as BlackBerries made up about 16 percent of device models, while so-called "phablets," 7 to 8.4-inch tablets, and 8.5-inch and above tablets made up 2, 6, and 7 percent of device models detected, respectively.

While smaller devices accounted for about one-in-six detected models, Flurry's analysis shows that they're only about seven percent of active devices once users-per-device are taken into account. These smaller devices only make up about four percent of overall app sessions, Flurry found.


Medium-sized phones — a category into which Apple's entire iPhone line falls — accounted for 72 percent of active users and 76 percent of app sessions.

The report deems phablets — phone-tablet hybrids — to be a fad, considering their holding only two percent share of the installed device base. Despite the increased screen real estate of these devices, they do not account for a much larger share of active users or app sessions than their install base.

Large-screened tablets such as Apple's iPad appear to have the most outsized use patterns based on their install base. While large-screened tablets make up only 7 percent of the device install base, they account for 13 percent of active users and 13 percent of total app sessions. The report found that, in terms of apps, tablets are largely used as gaming devices, with users spending about 17 percent of their time gaming. Books and video watching, while easier on a tablet's larger screen, don't amount to 10 percent of tablet usage time combined.

Nearly a quarter of the iOS users included in Flurry's report were using a full-size iPad, while 74 percent were using a model of iPhone. Two percent of iOS users in the report were using an iPad mini, which is a testament to the quick sales of the device, given the more than 500 million iOS devices on the market.

Flurry's analytic network now detects roughly one billion mobile devices in use around the world every month. The last study saw activity on more than 2,000 unique device models.