Are Phablets Just a Fad?

Couple take picture in Sydney Australia

Phablets, those phone/tablet combinations with a 5 to 7 inch screen don’t get a lot of press. But they continue to increase in sales, especially in the Asia/Pacific marketplace, reports IDC.com. If you’re looking for a new smartphone or tablet this year, consider the phablet. Less costly than buying both a smartphone and tablet, it might be an option that grows on you.

Where are the Phablets?

The odds are that you haven’t seen someone making a call on a phablet or doing email on one in a coffee shop. They just aren’t popular here in the West. Newsfactor notes that the current generation of phablets came out in 2011, but people in the West considered them too awkward because of their size. Developing countries consider them cost saving since they do combine features of both a smartphone and tablet.

A Great Phone, Tablet or Both?

The whole point of the phablet is to take a good phone and tablet and merge them into one package, says Huffington Post. Much like the multi-function printer/copier/scanner, each component works as well as their standalone counterparts. Individually, they aren’t an improvement, but they are together in one package. With people often carrying around a laptop, tablet, and smartphone, the phablet would reduce a person’s load.

The Phablet Niche

Computerworld says that phablets are an ideal solution for those who have integrated technology into their everyday lives. This person gets their news, music, and entertainment online. They work online, do research and stay connected with social media. They may even have a smart home and control their house remotely. For this person, a phone/tablet combination makes sense.

There is also the factor that phone calls are becoming less of a communication tool than email and text. In fact, telecommunications company O2 surveyed smartphone owners and discovered that more time was spent online browsing and accessing social media than making phone calls. Email and text came in just under phone calls.

It’s taken years for people to move from desktops to laptops, laptops to tablets, and land lines to mobile phones. The switch to phablets may just be another evolution of technology for people.

The Comparison

When comparing a smartphone, tablet and phablet, it’s a little like apples and oranges.

For example, the new Galaxy s4 smartphone is a state of the art Android phone. It makes clear phone calls and comes loaded with Android apps. It also features Air View, which allows you to navigate without touching the screen.

On the other hand, a tablet, such as the newly released iPad Air, includes apps, email, and web browsing. The only feature this device lacks is the ability to make phone calls.

The Galaxy Note 3 is a popular phablet that combines the world of smartphones and tablets. The phablet is a medium format screen tablet that can make phone calls with the features of a traditional tablet. It’s a little big to hold up to your ear, so a wired or Bluetooth headset is usually preferred.

Perhaps this is the resistance the West has with embracing the phablet technology. While people are accustomed to doing tablet-like tasks on the small screen of their smartphone, they aren’t used to making calls on their tablets.

However, that may soon change.

The Future of Phablets

One of the mobile device pioneers, Apple, is finally getting into the phablet market, reports GizMag. In 2014, expect to see an iPhone 6 with a nearly 5 inch or larger screen. Two iPhone 6s are expected to be released. A 4.5 inch smartphone and the larger screen phablet.

With Apple releasing a phablet for those Apple-lovers, this year might become the year of the phablet. If people make the iPhone phablet a popular item, then the current line of phablets might get a second look.

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