We live in a world where technology is constantly changing and evolving. The same case applies to smartphones, which are always going in a new direction. Phablets are all in rage these days, people are flocking around the new trend and we are seeing more and more manufactures cater to the craze. The size of a common smartphone is going up at an alarmingly fast rate, which is quite odd because no one specifically asked for this to happen. Let’s take an in-depth look at how this started and where the Phablets are going to take the whole industry.
A history lesson in phone trends
Phones used to be huge back when they were introduced. Then the technology evolved and allowed us to make smaller and lighter phones. A decade back we were still chasing the small and thin size; nobody cared about the internal specs or the screen as long as the phone was thin enough. Apple’s iPhone changed that and companies started to take note.
Touch screens became the norm and then Android came along and wiped the slate clean. The introduction of Android is as significant as the launch of iPhone in the smartphone world. With the advent of Android more and more manufactures embraced the touch screen revolution. A few years back a four inch smartphone was the biggest. Today we have smartphones that are absurdly big, coming at 6.3 inches.
Coining the term
The term phablet came into existence when the screen size of flagship smartphones got out of hand. The smartphones started approaching tablets at a very high pace and thus the need arose to differentiate the decent sized phones from the abnormally large ones. Phablet is what you get when you combine a tablet with a phone (ph +ablet).
Who started this?
While there were a few attempts to make a large smartphone, it wasn’t until Samsung introduced its Galaxy Note the trend caught mainstream attention. The original Samsung Galaxy Note was a very large phone back in Oct 2011, when it was released. The 5.3 inch large phone was considered a flop waiting to happen by industry’s analysts. They deemed the Note, “unwieldy, large and unpockitable”. But contrary to what the elites thought, Galaxy Note garnered mild success.
The Galaxy Note 2 however was a huge success; it generated a lot of sales and fully established a genre of smartphones. Now all other manufactures stumbled to make their own phablet as soon as possible.
Why are phablets popular?
There are multiple reasons for they fame, although these might not become apparent until you use a phablet yourself. The large screen translates well to the touch screen interface; your fingers are not so cramped while typing and you can enjoy games without obscuring half of the screen. That’s not all though, the larger screen also provides a great video watching experience which is only rivaled by tablets. The pure joy of taking out your large smartphone and consuming media makes the phablets so alluring.
The big size of the smartphone also means more space for a bigger battery. For example the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features a rather large 3,300 mAh battery. This provides enough juice to last day with moderate use. The pros of owning a phablet easily dominate the cons. You will forget that a jarringly big smartphone is jabbing your thigh when you have the power to play though any waiting time. Whether you are riding a metro to home or simply waiting for your doctor, phablets will ensure you have a premium screen to enjoy content.
How their success is influencing the rest
Smartphones, excluding the phablets, are becoming more and bigger. Let’s take a look at last year’s flagship smartphones, the HTC One was a 4.7 inch phone while the more popular Samsung Galaxy S III came at 4.8 inches. Now this year the norm for flagship devices is 5 inches, with the exception of HTC One which retains its smaller size. The Samsung Galaxy S4 despite being a 5 inch phone is selling like hot cakes. Its success is quite evident by the 20 million units sold in only 2 months.
So the flagship smartphones are now approaching the 5 inch plus territory which is widely believed to be the phablet one. Anything more than 5 inches is called a phablet in the tech world. This necessarily wouldn’t be a bad thing but many users want their flagship devices a reasonable size. It would have been OK if manufactures like Samsung released a 4.5 inch smartphone with top tier specs, which is unfortunately not the case. Devices which are around 4.5 inch screens are considered mid-range and hence come with the appropriate specs. A person looking for a comfy smartphone which is operable with one hand is either stuck with mid-range devices or is forced to sacrifice preferences.
What the future holds?
The flagships are now 5 inches and meanwhile the phablets are reaching absurd sizes like 6.3 inches. Looking at Xperia Z Ultra and a tablet you will find very minute differences. Some might consider that a tablet especially when you are taking a call.
With every release, we condemn the large smartphones sizes. Analysts state them failures and many customers are vocal about their displeasure. But despite all that, phablets continue to sell well and generate profits. The only way manufactures will stop making giant smartphones is when people stop purchasing them. Until then expect the flagship size to increase yearly until all top range smartphones are phablets. That’s not all; expect the phablets to approach the 7 inch size in near future.
In a way phablets are already dominating the sales. 5 years ago a 5 inch smartphone was considered a joke; today it is the fastest selling Android phone ever. Suffice to say, the smartphone market is an unpredictable one. There are only two options left, either join the bandwagon and see what the fuss is all about or stick with the midrange smartphones until the next generation of hand-me-down specs come and upgrade it.