Anyone who says the phablet revolution is coming has officially missed the boat because the phablet revolution is already here. But maybe you’re still not carrying one of these devices charmingly (and aptly) described by a combination of the words phone and tablet. With screens measuring 5 to 7 inches diagonally, they straddle the line between smartphones and tablets effectively filling the roles occupied by both. And is there anything most of us need less than manifold gadgets to manage?
People are jumping at the chance to downsize their electronics collections by upsizing their phones. The proof? Phablets have already outsold both laptops and tablets in Asia as of 2013. In that same year, phablet sales saw big gains in the U.S. mobile market, and this year data from apps analytics firm Flurry shows the demand for big phones is twice what it was just one year ago.
Why do we love phablets so much? Flurry’s survey revealed that bigger devices get more attention from their owners. It could be that we’re more attracted to a device that can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. What’s the point of having to cart around two or more gadgets when one is all you need for calls, texting, email, checking Facebook, watching movies and TV, reading and web browsing?
Or maybe it’s simply that meatier devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 are just plain hard to ignore. That could explain why Apple felt the pressing need to size up the iPhone with the newly released 6 Plus after refusing to take part in the screen wars for so long. Of course, the answer to the question of why phablets are getting so popular so quickly could just be that a decent phablet tends to cost less than a similar quality tablet.
It’s telling that Samsung’s big product reveals at this year’s IFA, the biggest consumer electronics show in Europe, included no tablets. Instead, the Note 4 took center stage with its spruced up software, super-fast 2.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, Quad HD Super AMOLED screen, more powerful camera and the revamped S Pen stylus. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be available at T-Mobile in October.)
That’s a lot of upgrades for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which is currently available for pre-order at T-Mobile right now. But the plethora of changes is unsurprising when you consider two things. First, that screen size will probably no longer be the deciding factor in the Android vs. Apple debate now that the 6 Plus is here. And the second thing to keep in mind is that while Samsung is still leading the phablet segment according to Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee, the iPhone 6 Plus may just be the game changer that knocks this big player in the mobile world down a notch. That one device, coupled with all of the new Chinese manufacturers jumping into the phablet market, will certainly keep Samsung on its toes. Thus far the company has kept its lead admirably, but anything can happen in this fast-changing sphere.
As for the phablet forecast, sales of this crossover device are expected to grow more than the sales of phones, tablets and PCs over the next four years. They’ll outpace PC sales worldwide by the end of 2014 and market intelligence firm IDC predicts sales figures will more than double to reach 318 million units in 2015. Phablets are quickly becoming the new norm and is certainly turning out to be a trend that is here to stay.
– By Jennifer Thayer
Jennifer is a technology writer who enjoys writing about fun gadgets, helpful apps and the latest tech news. Follow her on Twitter to see what tech discoveries she uncovers next.