2013 will be the year of the bigger, faster smartphone

2013 will be the year of the bigger, faster smartphone

Industry sources interviewed by Digitimes claim that smartphones with 5-inch and greater screens will become the standard over the next 12 months and that these handsets will be powered by quad-core processors, the cost of which are decreasing rapidly thanks to the growing market for powerful smartphones in China.

Faster processors and bigger screens will feed into the other big smartphone trend for 2013, the ability to play back full HD video. Currently, the HTC Droid DNA is the only smartphone capable of this feat but Sony's initially rumored, now confirmed, Xperia Z 5-inch smartphone also comes with a full HD display and Huawei has this week confirmed that its Ascend Mate -- also a full HD smartphone with a huge 6.1-inch display -- will also be making its debut at CES.

As will Chinese manufacturer ZTE's rather elegant-looking Nubia Z5. It combines a HD 5-inch screen with an incredibly thin form factor -- it is only 7.6mm thick -- and from a purely aesthetic standpoint could be one of the stars of the show.

However, it is Samsung which is expected to set the smartphone standards that everyone else -- even Apple, potentially -- will follow this year. The latest rumors circulating are that as well as unveiling a 6.3-inch phablet later this year, the South Korean tech giant will also be incorporating 5-inch and greater AMOLED panels into its 2013 smartphone range including the upcoming Galaxy SIV. AMOLED screens require no LED backlighting so that they can be thinner and lighter with a reduced bezel, meaning that the display can run closer to the outside edge of the device. The technology behind the displays is the same as that found in OLED TVs -- meaning sharper contrasts, greater depth and a superior range of colors than anything an LCD screen can offer.

Meanwhile Apple is believed to be in the process of building an iPhone that comes with a choice of both color and screen size, expected to be launched as early as June 2013.