Phablets have screens that measure (diagonally) between 5.3 to 6.9 inches (134 to 180 mm), a size that complements screen-intensive activity such as mobile web browsing and multimedia viewing. Phablets may also include software optimized for an integral self-storing stylus to facilitate sketching, note-taking and annotation. While Samsung's Galaxy Note (2011) is largely credited with pioneering the worldwide phablet market when launched in 2011, examples of early devices with similar form factors date to 1993.
The popularity of phablets grew dramatically in 2012, as a successor to the original Galaxy Note, along with the falling costs and increasing power efficiency of smartphone displays, began to fuel competition in the market from other smartphone manufacturers, including LG, HTC, Huawei, and Sony; IHS reported that 25.6 million phablets were sold in 2012 alone. Owing to the market's growth, Reuters called 2013 the "Year of the Phablet." In 2014, noting that phablets had overtaken laptops and desktops in global sales, The New York Times said "phablets could become the dominant computing device of the future — the most popular kind of phone on the market, and perhaps the only computer many of us need."
- 2007 HTC Advantage (5.0 inch screen)
- 2007 Nokia N810WiMAX Edition (4.13" screen)
- 2009 Verizon Hub (7.0" screen)
- 2010 LG GW990 (4.8" screen)
- 2010 Dell Streak (5.0" screen)
- 2011 Dell Streak 7 (7.0" screen)
- 2011 Acer Iconia Smart (4.8" screen)
- 2011 Samsung Galaxy Player 5 (5.0" screen)
- 2011 Pantech Pocket
- 2011 Samsung Galaxy Note (5.3" screen)
The Android-based Dell Streak included a 5-inch (130 mm), 800×480 display and a widescreen-optimized interface. Reviewers encountered issues with its outdated operating system, Android 1.6 (which was not yet optimized for such a large screen size), and the device was commercially unsuccessful.
The Samsung Galaxy Note used a 5.3 in (130 mm) screen. While some media outlets questioned the viability of the device, the Note received positive reception for its stylus functionality, the speed of its 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and the advantages of its high resolution display. The Galaxy Note was a commercial success; Samsung announced in December 2011 that the Galaxy Note had sold 1 million units in two months. In February 2012, Samsung debuted a Note version with LTE support. By August 2012, the Note had sold 10 million units worldwide.
In late 2012, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note II, featuring a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, a 5.55 in (141 mm) screen and the ability to run two applications at once via a split-screen view. The Note II also incorporated a refreshed hardware design based on the Galaxy S III, with a narrower, smoother body. International sales of the Galaxy Note II reached 5 million in two months. The 2012 LG Optimus Vu used a 5-inch (130 mm) display with an unusual 4:3 aspect ratio—in contrast to the 16:9 aspect ratio used by most smartphones. Joining the Galaxy Note II on many carriers' lineups in 2013 was the nearly-identically-sized LG Optimus G Pro, released in April.
In late-2012 and early 2013, companies began to release smartphones with 5 inch screens at 1080p resolution, such as the HTC Droid DNA and Samsung Galaxy S4. Despite the screen size approaching those of phablets, HTC's design director Jonah Becker said that the Droid DNA was not a phablet. HTC would release a proper phablet, the HTC One Max—a smartphone with a 5.9 in (150 mm) screen and a design based on its popular HTC One model, in October 2013.
Examples of Android phablets with screens larger than 6 inches began appearing in 2013; with the Chinese company Huawei unveiling its 6.1 in (150 mm) Ascend Mate at Consumer Electronics Show, and Samsung introducing the Galaxy Mega, a phablet with a 6.3 in (160 mm) variant, but unlike the Galaxy Note line it does not use a stylus. Sony Mobile also entered the phablet market with its 6.4 in (160 mm) Xperia Z Ultra.
As a variation of the concept, Asus and Samsung also released otherwise small-sized tablets, the FonePad, Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, with cellular connectivity and the ability to place voice calls. Later that year, Nokia also introduced Windows Phone 8 phablets, such as the 6-inch Lumia 1520.
In September 2014, Apple released the iPhone 6 Plus along with its 2014 iPhone models; the first iOS phablet, with the largest iPhone screen to date, at 5.5 inches. Later that month, BlackBerry also released its first phablet, the enterprise-oriented BlackBerry Passport, which is differentiated by a unique square-shaped, 4.5 inches (11 cm) display (making the device notably wider than even the most recent entry in the Galaxy Note line), and its inclusion of the company's iconic physical keyboard. The company touted that the square-shaped screen was optimized for business-oriented tasks such as document editing, image viewing (such as architectural schematics and x-rays), and web browsing.
In an analysis, Engadget identified falling screen prices, increasing screen power efficiency and battery life, and the evolving importance of multimedia viewing as critical factors in the popularity of the phablet. A consumer need for "all-in-one" devices that can serve as both a phone and tablet, especially in emerging markets, has also been considered a factor in the growth of the phablet market. Phablets have also been popular with an older demographic of smartphone users, as their large screens provide a benefit to those with deteriorating eyesight.
In April 2013, Doug Conklyn, vice president of global design for Dockers told Fox News that the company reworked the size of its pants pockets "to accommodate the growing size of smartphones." For women, a small handbag can easily accommodate a phablet, but not most tablets.
In January 2013, IHS reported that 25.6 million phablet devices were sold in 2012 and estimated that these figures would grow to 60.4 million in 2013, and 146 million by 2016. Barclays projected sales of phablets rising from 27 million in 2012 to 230 million in 2015. In September 2013 International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that its research indicated that phablet size smartphones "overtook shipments of both laptops and tablets in Asia in the second quarter of 2013."
|Brand||Name||Screen Size (Diagonally)||Note|
|Samsung||Galaxy Note (original)||5.3 inches (13 cm)|
|Galaxy Note II||5.5 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Note 3 Neo||5.5 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Note 3||5.7 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Note 4||5.7 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Note Edge||5.6 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Mega||6.3 inches (16 cm)|
|Galaxy Mega 2||6 inches (15 cm)|
|Apple||iPhone 6 Plus||5.5 inches (14 cm)|
|Nexus 6||5.96 inches (15.1 cm)|
|OnePlus||OnePlus One||5.46 inches (13.9 cm)|
|Nokia/Microsoft||Lumia 1520||6.0 inches (15 cm)|
|Sony||Xperia Z||6.4 inches (16 cm)|
|Archos||Archos 64||6.4 inches (16 cm)|
- Goode, Lauren Goode (January 9, 2012), "Samsung Shows Off 7.7-Inch LTE Tablet and More of That "Phablet"", AllThingsD
- Newman, Jared (April 2, 2013). "Phablets Are a Niche, Not a Fad". Time.
- Olsen, Parmy (February 28, 2013), "Why Get A Tablet When You Can Have A Phablet?", Forbes
- "'Phablets' and Fonepads the New Tech Lexicon". Wall Street Journal. April 24, 2013.
- Segan, Sasha (February 13, 2012). "Enter the Phablet: A History of Phone-Tablet Hybrids". PC Magazine.
- Wagstaff, Jeremy; Yee, Lee Chyen (January 7, 2013), Handset makers scurry to join Year of the Phablet, Reuters
- "With the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Aims for Versatility". The New York Times, Farhad Manjoo, September 17, 2014.
- Segan, Sasha (February 13, 2012). "Enter the Phablet: A History of Phone-Tablet Hybrids". PC Magazine.
- Elgan, Mike (February 18, 2012). "Rise of the 'phablet'". Computerworld.
- "Will 2013 be the year of the phablet as phone screens grow bigger?". London: Reuters. January 8, 2013.
- "Dell Streak: A Smartphone With a Tablet Heart". PC World. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Samsung announces Galaxy Nexus and Note roll-out schedules". GSMArena. 2011-10-27.
- "Samsung Galaxy Note Android phone". PC World Australia. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
- Dan Grabham (2011-09-01). "Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Note review". techradar.com. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- Mat Smith (December 29, 2011). "1 million Galaxy Notes shipped worldwide, US fans throw money at their screens". Engadget.
- "Samsung: 10M Galaxy Notes sold in nine months". CNET. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review (T-Mobile) - The Phablet Returns". Anandtech. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- "Multi-window update comes to AT&T Galaxy Note II starting today". Boy Genius Report. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Samsung Galaxy Note II Tops 5 Million in Sales". PC Magazine. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "LG Optimus G Pro E985". GSMArena. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "Samsung Galaxy S4 review: Supernova". GSMArena. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "The Droid DNA: It’s Not a Phablet, It’s a Smartphone". AllThingsD. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- "HTC One max official with 5.9-inch display and fingerprint scanner". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Shipments of 'phablets,' or large smartphones, to double in 2013". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 18, 2013.[dead link]
- Aaron Souppouris (2013-04-11). "Samsung announces Galaxy Mega 5.8 and 6.3, coming to Europe in May". The Verge. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- "Comparison of the two Samsung Galaxy Mega phablets". Phone listing a specifications. The GSM Arena website. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- "Sony Xperia Z Ultra review: Is it a tablet? Is it a phone? Really... do you care?". TechRadar. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "ASUS FonePad official: 7-inch tablet with phone functionality, priced at $249 (hands-on)". Engadget. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- Smith, Mat (22 October 2013). "Nokia Lumia 1520: Windows Phone with 6-inch 1080p display and 20MP camera for $750". Engadget. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- "BlackBerry Passport: Breaking Design Boundaries". Inside BlackBerry. BlackBerry Limited. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- "With Passport, BlackBerry bets on 'polarizing' device". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "BlackBerry Passport review: Getting stuff done or getting in the way?". The Verge. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- "The Rise of the Ever-Expanding Smartphone Screen". Engadget, Distro Issue 79, p. 50, Jon Fingus.
- "Weighing the Phablet's Potential". PC Magazine. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- Smith, Edward (January 8, 2013). "CES 2013: Huawei Unveils Ascend Mate and D2 Smartphones". International Business Times.
- Epstein, Zach (April 26, 2013), Is that a phablet in your pocket?, BGR
- Sophie Curtis (2014-02-06). "My two months with a 'phablet'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-09-22.
- Shaughnessy, Haydn (February 5, 2013). "Will Making An iPhone Phablet Hurt Apple More Than It Will Help?". Forbes.
- Curtis, Sophie (September 2, 2013). "'Phablets' overtake tablets and laptops in Asia". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved September 4, 2013.
Device makers shipped 25.2 million phablets in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) in the second quarter of 2013, compared with 12.6 million tablets, and 12.7 million laptops.
- "Headache Coming On? Apple's Phablet Could Be Just The Remedy It Needs". Forbes, Mark Rogowsky, June 18, 2014.
- "Android and Chrome may come together, but don't expect changes yet, Google says". CNET (CBS Interactive). Retrieved 14 January 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Phablets.|
|Look up phablet in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|