If you are hankering for a smartphone that can also double as a tablet computer, a “Phablet” may be just the thing for you. Phablets are hybrid devices that combine smartphone functionality with many of the features and capabilities of a tablet. Phablets have substantially larger screens than typical smartphones. Most products marketed as phablets these days, such as the HTC One Max, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Nokia Lumia 1520, and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra have screens that range from 5 inches to 6.4 inches when measured diagonally. Phablets also usually come with a stylus for easier text entry and navigation.
Phablets are relatively new in the U.S. and Europe, but are a red-hot commodity in Asia. More than 41 percent of mobile devices sold in South Korea last year were in the phablet form factor, according to market research firm Flurry. In comparison, the average market penetration rate in the U.S and Europe for these devices is just around 7 percent.
The growing interest in the technology in some parts of the world stems from a variety of reasons. One of the biggest has to do with screen size. The larger-than-average displays on a phablet makes it an ideal device for watching TV, playing video games and for running graphics-intensive applications, according to Time. Another big factor driving adoption of the technology is the fact that it eliminates the need for users to carry both a smartphone and a tablet.
Worldwide Market Trend
Though small-screen smartphones continue to dominate the global market currently, phablets have begun making some modest inroads. Nearly 20 million Phablet devices were shipped in 2013 and it is estimated to reach 120 million annually by 2018. Samsung, which pioneered the phablet form factor in 2012 with its Galaxy Note, is betting big-time on Phablet devices. The emerging markets, though, are leaning more towards Smartphones adoption now, developed nations like U.S and South Korea, where smartphone growth is saturating, is witnessing a gradual shift from smartphones to Phablet devices. Samsung continues to lead the way in the U.S. with models like the Note 2 and the Note 3 both of which feature jumbo-sized screens. Others vendors like Nokia and LG have also begun pushing phablets more aggressively in the U.S. market over the past year. Apple, one of the dominant players in the U.S. market has so far given no indication that it plans to launch a phablet device. However, industry analysts believe that it’s just a matter of time before the company starts rolling out iPhones with larger-size sized screens, as CNET mentions.
The Pros of Owing a Phablet
Phablets offer several advantages over regularly sized smartphones. Apart from the obvious benefits of a larger screen, Phablets offer other benefits as well. Here in no particular order are a few of them:
- Phablets typically come with more powerful processors than smartphones and offer a significantly better multimedia experience.
- Web browsing, gaming, video calls, email and e-book reading are all often much better with a phablet because of the larger display size.
- Phablets have significantly larger batteries than smartphones and therefore much better battery life.
- Phablets have larger keyboards than smartphones so inputting text is often easier.
Ultimately, the decision to use a phablet over a smartphone boils down to personal choice and preferences. Consumers who like the idea of a hybrid phone and tablet computer will find plenty to like about Phablets. They are convenient, multi-faceted and practical. On the other hand, those who prefer their phones to be compact and functional will probably find plenty in the current generation of smartphones to keep them happy for years.