Over 120 million phablets are expected to ship by 2018, up from an estimated 20 million in 2013, according to a recent report. This type of device—a smartphone with a screen measuring five to seven inches diagonally—is predicted to sell best in East Asian markets such as South Korea and China, where gamers and other users of video streaming content particularly value their large displays.
The phablet market will likely be a growth area for established smartphone vendors that want to target tech-savvy demographics, but recent entrants into the smartphone market such as Nokia, Alcatel and Intex will also be able to profit from the explosion of interest in phablets, as the market is expected to support a range of price points. Among phablet operating systems, Android and Windows will dominate, the former driven by Samsung’s devices and the latter by Nokia’s. The situation could be change, the report notes, if a rumored Apple phablet were to materialize.
The phablet—occasionally the target of skepticism in the mobile industry—may be seen as ungainly or occupying an awkward middle ground, but it appears that it satisfies the needs of an ever-growing demographic: smartphone users who want more and more sophisticated and richer data delivered to their devices. As data gains the upper hand over voice in terms of smartphone use, it is natural that demand for larger, higher-resolution screens should increase. Those who want access to this rich content wherever they may be and do not want to carry two devices—a phone and a tablet—will turn to the phablet, and may do so without feeling that they are compromising.