The first phablet hit the shelves in 2007 with the HTC Advantage, which now looks more akin to those bulky brick cellphones we all love to make fun of from the 80s. It wasn’t until the Samsung Galaxy Note hit the shelves in 2011 that the phablet became a serious product, but adoption levels have never quite skyrocketed. Yet users of these devices swear by them and wouldn’t have it any other way. So is the phablet just a passing fad or will we see them take off this year?
As @NewsTechDaily tweets, the rise in global unit shipments of phablets is a positive sign. 20 million units shipped in 2013, and that number is expected to rise to 120 million units by 2018. These are no small numbers considering there were around 1 billion smartphones sold last year and we’ll hit around 1.7 billion by 2017.
Even still, general sentiment in the tech community seems lukewarm at best. We published an article with a good demonstration of this from the recent TMT Predictions in Toronto.
“When Deloitte’s Duncan Stewart asked the crowd if they were considering buying a phablet, about a quarter of the roughly 1,000 attendees put up their hand. Then he asked who wouldn’t be caught dead talking on a phablet. Everyone else’s hand shot into the air.”
For those 25% though, or for those people too shy to not admit they were interested, CNET published their top 5 picks for best phablets on the market.
North Americans are probably not the key market for this “bulky” devices. In fact, the Asian markets (notably South Korea according to @TabletNews) are major adopters who love the bigger screens while on the go and for gaming. Others have noted that the devices are more user friendly for Asian characters when typing, and that’s a potential factor the North American market wouldn’t generally consider.
And with all this buzz about the phablet line, there will of course be even more buzz about what will come next. Will Apple get in on the game and introduce the iPhone phablet as appliOS speculates. We’ll have to wait and see at the next Cupertino event.
So do you think phablets are good or bad? Are they going to make waves in 2014? Tell us your opinion below.
Image by Kārlis Dambrāns