Apple is strongly rumored to be preparing to release a larger version of the iPhone next month. While the company is almost certain to retain its focus on the high-end smartphone market, its strategy appears to be propelled by a growth in large-screened devices which began in Asia and is taking off in emerging markets.

A new report from reputed market research firm Jana suggests that consumers in emerging markets favor smartphones with a screen that is at least five inches in size.

“While the four to five inch screen segment is not considered desirable by most of our respondents, four-inch screens are still popular,” Jana said on its blog.

The company polled 1,386 phone owners in nine countries in the emerging world, asking them what phone size they will buy next.

Four-inch devices accounted for a decent portion of responses in all markets, but in each case it is consistently lower than others. In South Africa, for example, nearly one-third of respondents want a phone that is more than 5.5 inches, while five inches is the most common response in five of the nine countries.

Screenshot 2014 08 14 12.53.50 Report: People in emerging markets prefer big smartphones. Heres why.

What factors motivate this lust for big phones?

Well, it’s fairly simple in emerging markets where a device is an all-in-one entertainment system for many.

Whether it is watching videos, surfing the Web, looking at photos or just playing games, a larger screen makes all of these activities more enjoyable. There is certainly a trade-off when it comes to lugging a big phone around — some of Jana’s respondents that indicated a preference for smaller devices cited portability as a key concern — but if you don’t have a tablet or PC, then a larger smartphone is more appealing.

Jana also polled respondents on whether they use their phone for watching video content. The overwhelming majority said yes, and that reinforces the focus on entertainment.

Screenshot 2014 08 14 13.12.56 730x549 Report: People in emerging markets prefer big smartphones. Heres why.

Apple’s upcoming new devices aren’t likely to be a feasible next purchase for Jana’s respondents, many of whom will lack the disposable income to shell out $800-$1,000 on a smartphone.

But the interest in large screens has been driving the agenda for global device makers that cater to entry- and mid-level devices, as well as local smartphone makers, which are gaining ground in India and markets in Southeast Asia, for example.

Also read: ZTE eyes Southeast Asia, seeking to build its brand with launch of three Android KitKat smartphones

Image via South Wales Evening Post