Phablet

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Samsung Galaxy series (Note 5, S6 edge+, and Note 7 pictured)
Samsung Galaxy series (Note 5, S6 edge+, and Note 7 pictured)

The phablet (/ˈfæblt/) is a class of mobile computing devices designed to combine or straddle the size format of smartphones and tablets. The word phablet is a portmanteau of the words phone and tablet.[1]

Phablets typically have a diagonal display measurement ranging from 5.1–6.99 inches (130–178 mm)[2][3] — however, some currently consider only those with a size greater than 6 inches[4] — a range that complements screen-intensive activity such as mobile web browsing and multimedia viewing. They may also include software optimized for an integral self-storing stylus to facilitate sketching, note-taking and annotation. Because of their size, phablet use may require two hands.[5]

While Samsung's Galaxy Note (2011) is largely credited with popularizing the phablet when launched in 2011,[6] examples of earlier devices with similar form factors date to 1993.[1][7][8][9]

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 Lenovo, LG, HTC, Huawei, Micromax, and Sony; IHS, Samsung reported that 25.6 million phablets were sold in 2012 alone. Due to the market's growth, Reuters called 2013 the "Year of the Phablet".[10] 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".[11]

History[edit]

The Dell Streak received mixed reviews for its large size and dated software despite its pioneering design.

In tracing the 10 earliest devices in the history of the phablet concept, PC Magazine called the 1993 AT&T EO 440, "the first true phablet",[12] followed by the following devices:

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.[13][14][15]

The Samsung Galaxy Note[16] used a 5.3 inches (130 mm) screen. While some media outlets questioned the viability of the device,[17][18] 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.[19] By August 2012, the Note had sold 10 million units worldwide.[20]

In late 2012, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note II, featuring a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, a 5.55 inches (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.[21][22] International sales of the Galaxy Note II reached 5 million in two months.[23] 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.[13] Joining the Galaxy Note II on many carriers' lineups in 2013 was the nearly-identically-sized LG Optimus G Pro, released in April.[24]

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.[25][26] 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.[27]

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, which has midrange specs and lacks a stylus compared to the flagship Galaxy Note series.[28][29][30][31] Sony Mobile also entered the phablet market with its 6.4 in (160 mm) Xperia Z Ultra.[32]

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.[33] Later that year, Nokia also introduced Windows Phone 8 phablets, such as the 6-inch Lumia 1520.[34]

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 in (140 mm). A few years ago, then-CEO of Apple Steve Jobs refused to make a device between the size of the 3.5-inch iPhone and 9.7-inch iPad, a policy reversed by his successor Tim Cook.[11]

Market impact[edit]

Talking on a 6.4-inch phablet (Sony Xperia Z Ultra)

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.[35] Phablets also satisfy a consumer need — for an "all-in-one" device serving as both a smartphone and tablet, especially in emerging markets such as Asia where buyers cannot afford two devices — fuelling their global market growth. Phablets have also been popular with an older demographic of smartphone users — their large screens provide a benefit to those with deteriorating eyesight.[36][37]

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".[38] For women, a small handbag can easily accommodate a phablet, but not most tablets.[39]

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.[29] Barclays projected sales of phablets rising from 27 million in 2012 to 230 million in 2015.[40] In September 2013 International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that its research indicated that phablet sized smartphones "overtook shipments of both laptops and tablets in Asia in the second quarter of 2013".[41]

In 2014, Business Insider predicted phablets would outsell smartphones by 2017.[42] Speaking with CNET in 2014, David Burke, Vice President of Engineering at Google, said "If you gave them a phablet for a week, 50 percent of [consumers] would say they like it and not go back".[43]

In the first quarter of 2015, phablets accounted for 21% of all smartphones sold in the US, with the iPhone 6 Plus making up 44 percent of those phablets sold.[44] In Q1 2014, phablets made up 6% of US smartphones sold.

Devices[edit]

Brand Model Screen size (diagonally) Operating system
Akyumen Holofone 7.0 inches (18 cm) Windows 10/Android
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 5.5 inches (14 cm) iOS
iPhone 6S Plus 5.5 inches (14 cm) iOS
iPhone 7 Plus 5.5 inches (14 cm) iOS
Archos Archos 64 6.4 inches (16 cm)
ASUS Fonepad Note 6 6.0 inches (15 cm)
Zenfone 2 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Zenfone 6 6.0 inches (15 cm)
Zenfone Max 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Zenfone Zoom 5.5 inches (14 cm)
BlackBerry Priv 5.43 inches (13.8 cm)
BLU Products Pure XL 6 inches (15 cm)
Elephone M1 5.5 inches (14 cm)
M3 Pro 5.5 inches (14 cm)
P20 5.5 inches (14 cm)
P8000 5.5 inches (14 cm)
P9000 5.5 inches (14 cm)
P9000 Edge 5.5 inches (14 cm)
S2 Plus 5.5 inches (14 cm)
S3 5.2 inches (13 cm)
Vowney Lite 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Google Nexus 6 5.96 inches (15.1 cm) Android
Nexus 6P 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Pixel XL 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Hewlett-Packard Elite x3 5.96 inches (15.1 cm) Windows 10 mobile
HTC Desire 816 / 816G 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Desire 820 / 820S / 820G / 820Q 5.5 inches (14 cm)
One E9 / E9+ 5.5 inches (14 cm)
One Max 5.9 inches (15 cm)
Huawei Ascend G7 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Ascend G730 6.1 inches (15 cm)
Ascend Mate 6.1 inches (15 cm)
Ascend Mate 2 6.2 inches (16 cm)
Ascend Mate 7 6.0 inches (15 cm)
G8 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Honor 4X 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Honor 6 Plus 5.5 inches (14 cm)
MediaPad X1 7.0 inches (18 cm)
MediaPad X2 7.0 inches (18 cm)
Mate 8 6 inches (15 cm)
Mate S 5.5 inches (14 cm)
P8 Max 6.8 inches (17 cm) Android
Lenovo A7000 5.5 inches (14 cm)
A850 5.5 inches (14 cm)
A880 / A889 6.0 inches (15 cm)
K3 Note 5.5 inches (14 cm)
K80 5.5 inches (14 cm)
K900 5.5 inches (14 cm)
P90 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Phab 6.98 inches (17.7 cm) Android
Phab 2 6.4 inches (16 cm) Android
Phab 2 Pro 6.4 inches (16 cm) Android
Phab Plus 6.8 inches (17 cm) Android
S856 5.5 inches (14 cm)
S930 / S939 6.0 inches (15 cm)
Vibe Z 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Vibe Z2 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Vibe Z2 Pro 6 inches (15 cm)
ZUK Z1 5.5 inches (14 cm)
LG Electronics G3 5.5 inches (14 cm)
G4 5.5 inches (14 cm)
G4 Stylus 5.7 inches (14 cm)
G Flex 6.0 inches (15 cm)
G Flex 2 5.5 inches (14 cm)
G Pro 2 5.9 inches (15 cm)
Optimus G Pro 5.5 inches (14 cm)
V10 5.7 inches (14 cm)
Meizu MX5 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Micromax/YU Canvas Doodle 3 6 inches (15 cm)
Canvas Doodle 4 Q391 6 inches (15 cm)
Canvas L A108 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Canvas Xpress 2 E313 6 inches (15 cm)
Q355 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Yureka 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Microsoft Mobile/Nokia Lumia 1320 6.0 inches (15 cm) Windows Phone 8
Lumia 1520 6.0 inches (15 cm) Windows Phone 8
Lumia 640 XL 5.7 inches (14 cm) Windows Phone 8
Lumia 950 XL 5.7 inches (14 cm) Windows 10 mobile
Motorola Mobility Moto X Play (Droid Maxx 2) 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Moto X Style (Moto X Pure Edition) 5.7 inches (14 cm)
OnePlus OPO 5.46 inches (13.9 cm)
OP2 5.5 inches (14 cm)
OP3 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Oppo Find 7 5.5 inches (14 cm)
N1 5.9 inches (15 cm)
N3 5.5 inches (14 cm)
R7 Plus 6.0 inches (15 cm)
R7s 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Samsung Electronics Galaxy A7 and A7 (2016) 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy A8 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy A9 (2016) 6 inches (15 cm) Android
Galaxy A9 Pro (2016) 6 inches (15 cm) Android
Galaxy E7 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy J7 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy Mega 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy Mega 6.3 inches (16 cm) Android
Galaxy Mega 2 6 inches (15 cm) Android
Galaxy Note (original) 5.3 inches (13 cm) Android
Galaxy Note Edge 5.6 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy Note II 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy Note 3 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy Note 3 Neo 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy Note 4 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy Note 5 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy Note 7 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy S6 Edge+ 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Galaxy S7 Edge 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Sony Mobile Xperia C3 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Xperia C4 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Xperia C5 Ultra 6.0 inches (15 cm) Android
Xperia T2 Ultra 6.0 inches (15 cm) Android
Xperia Z Ultra 6.4 inches (16 cm) Android
Xperia Z5 Premium 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Vodafone Smart 4 max 6 inches (15 cm)
Smart ultra 6 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Smart ultra 7 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Smart platinum 7 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Xiaomi Mi Mix 6.4 inches (16 cm) Android
Mi Max 6.4 inches (16 cm) Android
Mi Note 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Mi Note Pro 5.7 inches (14 cm) Android
Redmi Note 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android
Redmi Note 2 5.5 inches (14 cm) Android

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Best phablets of 2016: the 20 best big-screen phones you can buy - best phablet reviews - best Android phablets, iPhone 6 Plus, Windows phablets". TechAdvisor. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "8 Best Phablets You Can Buy in 2016". Trusted Reviews. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  4. ^ "Lenovo Phab2 vs the competition: Battle of the phablets – Tech2". Tech2. 2016-12-07. Retrieved 2016-12-07. 
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  6. ^ Goode, Lauren Goode (January 9, 2012), "Samsung Shows Off 7.7-Inch LTE Tablet and More of That "Phablet"", AllThingsD 
  7. ^ Newman, Jared (April 2, 2013). "Phablets Are a Niche, Not a Fad". Time. 
  8. ^ Olsen, Parmy (February 28, 2013), "Why Get A Tablet When You Can Have A Phablet?", Forbes 
  9. ^ "'Phablets' and Fonepads the New Tech Lexicon". Wall Street Journal. April 24, 2013. 
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  11. ^ a b "With the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Aims for Versatility". The New York Times, Farhad Manjoo, September 17, 2014. 
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  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ a b "Shipments of 'phablets,' or large smartphones, to double in 2013". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-04-16. Retrieved August 19, 2015. 
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  34. ^ 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. 
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  37. ^ Smith, Edward (January 8, 2013). "CES 2013: Huawei Unveils Ascend Mate and D2 Smartphones". International Business Times. 
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