Smartphone platforms like Android, iOS and Windows Phone have helped immensely in growth of the mobile phone market. There is demand for high end compact Smartphones like Sony Xperia Z1 Compact as well as for extremely large screen phablets like Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Devices like Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Xperia Z Ultra are fast blurring the lines between what you can call a phablet, a Smartphone or a tablet device. Phablets might be heavy and too big to handle but there’s no denying that people like bigger screens because performing tasks like browsing the web, gaming and streaming content is much more enjoyable due to the increased real estate.
Samsung Was Right About Demand For Large Screen Smartphones
The Samsung Galaxy Note was officially the first Smartphone to be termed as a phablet and almost every critic mocked Samsung for creating a Smartphone that was too large for comfortable one-handed usage. Once considered as just a fad, the phablet demand turned out to be a long-term market trend. Samsung was faster than anyone else in predicting the demand for such large screen devices and has reaped all the benefits for well over 2 years. Other well-established players like Sony, HTC and Nokia are just starting to releasing phablets. Are they late to the phablet party? Not really.
According to Juniper Research, nearly 20 million phablet devices were shipped in 2013. They have cited that phablet market ‘could become an area of growth’ and that estimated shipments might hit over 120 million units by 2018. According to this report, phablets would find many takers in the future, especially in the eastern parts of the world such as South Korea and China. There is already a huge demand for cheaper phablets in developing countries like India, Brazil and Russia. Going forward, Smartphones with 5.6 inch screens might well be considered mainstream, at least for phablet devices.
Analysts from Juniper Research mention only Android and Windows as the dominant platforms in the phablet market but they might be wrong. Lately, rumours of Apple introducing the iPhone 6 with a large 4.7 inch touchscreen are doing the rounds. If this turns out to be true, Juniper’s estimated numbers might be far off from the reality. According to a different report that was released by IHS iSuppli last year, the phablet market might see over 140 million device shipments as soon as 2016 which looks slightly more realistic if Apple announces a large screen iPhone.
Cheaper High Performance Processors Helping Drive The Phablet Sales
Not only Apple, even Microsoft couldn’t resist itself from serving this explosive demand for phablets. Increasing the screen size needs an increase in screen resolution so that clearer content can be displayed. This in turn, needs high performance chipsets to drive such higher resolutions. Earlier, the Windows Phone platform could only support 720p screens and dual-core processors. But screens larger than 5 inches need a resolution of at least 1920 x 1080 pixels to retain their ‘Retina Display’ sharpness. No wonder, Microsoft has recently introduced support for high resolution 1080p screens and powerful quad-core Snapdragon SoCs from Qualcomm with the release of Nokia Lumia 1520.
There is a huge demand for entry-level phablets and local players like Intex, Coolpad and Micromax are releasing multiple phablets in the price range of USD 200 to USD 350. MediaTek is trying to capitalise on this demand for cheaper phablets with the release of their new octa-core MT6592 chipset. This processor combines eight ARM Cortex A7 architecture based CPU cores with a fairly powerful Mali-450 GPU. With 4K content coming in, this market would only grow in the coming years.