the 3.5 inch screen was considered large. To put things in perspective, the 2.81 inch interior and exterior screens on the LG Voyager were much smaller and yet were characterized back then as being "generous". Most smartphones and featurephones went about as large as 3.2 inches except for Apple. Finally, the HTC HD2 launched overseas in November 2009 with a 4.3 inch display and that was considered to be enormous. By March 2010, the device had hit the U.S. market thanks to T-Mobile.
The 4.3 inch screen became the top size for some until the Samsung Infuse 4G broke the barrier in the States with a 4.5 inch screen a little over a year ago. But even that would not be enough to qualify as a phablet. That category features the Samsung GALAXY Note, the Samsung GALAXY Nexus, the Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X and the HTC EVO 4G LTE to name a few. Other models from LG and Huawei that will launch this year, will also be in the phablet category.
With this surge in handsets carrying such large screens, it should be interesting to see if the 5.3 inches of the Samsung GALAXY Note becomes the new ceiling for now or will someone try to top even that?