Are Phablets Replacing Tablets In The Hands Of Consumers?

Editorial / Mobile / Tech

Back in 2011 Samsung did something a little crazy and very controversial by producing a then massive 5.3″ screen in a smartphone. While Samsung wasn’t the first to make the smartphone screen bigger (see the Dell Streak and the HTC Advantage X7500), they were the first to get such a large screen into a smaller(ish) chassis. Even though the chassis was smaller it was still a huge enough phone for people to take notice and immediately mock for its cumbersome size and massive footprint against ones head. Could the birth of the Samsung Galaxy Note have been the catalyst for phablets replacing tablets?


“Samsung Galaxy Note Screenshot” by Flickr user “gillyberlin“. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.

To put this into a bit of perspective, in 2011 when the original Note was released, the Apple iPhone 4s was Samsung’s biggest competition. The 4s sported a whopping 3.5″ screen and Steve Jobs famously said that “no one is going to buy a big screen phone”, that was back when 4.3″ screens were making their debuts. We all know Jobs was wrong as 4″+ screens sold like hotcakes, prompting Apple to make their next iPhone (5) with a larger display. Still though, most phone makers were holding steady in the 4″ to 4.7″ display sizes that they felt consumers were comfortable with.


“IPhone 4S unboxing 17-10-11” by Brett Jordan. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.

Samsung chose to push the phablet issue and kicked their original Galaxy Note 5.3″ screen size up to 5.5″ with the Galaxy Note 2. It was around this time that the rest of the OEM’s started to notice that Samsung’s hairbrain phablet idea just might be a great idea. More phones started pushing the 5″ range and above testing the waters to be sure that consumers were indeed comfortable with the idea of holding a massive radioactive idiot box to their heads. And we were. The Google Nexus 6 clocks in at nearly 6″ (5.96″ to be exact) and of course Apple finally caved in (with Jobs now gone) and introduced their own phablet the 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus.

With all these phablets selling like mad, it has put a bit of a damper on tablet sales – even Apple is looking towards enterprise to bolster iPad’s dropping sales. Android tablets are rarely covered by the media and even Google’s Nexus 9 had a lukewarm welcome. Could these larger 5.5″+ phones be the perfect size for consumers needs?


Consuming multi-media on the Nexus 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus is a pleasure indeed. Both screens are vibrant and beautiful and you can see everything you need to see. Add a good pair of headphones in and you have your own traveling micro-theater and gaming console. These phablets also work as fitness trackers, note takers, calendars, social media hubs, cameras, music hubs and just about everything else. The 5.5″ to 6″ screen size fits most consumers like a glove and it seems they’re hanging up their 7″-10″ tablets in favor of a more portable and light option in the phablet.

I know since I have gotten my iPhone 6 Plus and Nexus 6, my iPad Air rarely sees use, it’s not because I don’t like it, it’s just heavier, bulkier and less convenient than my two phablets. As OEM’s learn to pack in more internal power in a smaller foot print and reduce the size of the bezels we’re bound to see even larger screens in nearly the same size footprint. Don’t be surprised to see 6″+ screens in the same footprint as the Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, this will further have an affect on tablet sales and growth.



What about you? Has your purchase of a phablet decreased your need for a tablet? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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