Phablet is a device that seeks to combine the functionality of the popular mobile cell phone and that of the tablet. With the increased development of communication and computer technology the need to be mobile and at the same time to be connected to the World Wide Web and have access to digital information has placed phone developers in a precarious position. I could remember initially when a cell phone was ridiculously large had limited talk time and took ages to recharge. As microprocessor and electronics technology improved the mobile phone became smaller and smaller making it easier to be carried discretely on one’s person. This was an added advantage to the average consumer as the phone truly became mobile as a communication device that was easily portable. At the same time the proliferation of the personal computer and its everyday use also saw the need for it to be mobile hence the advent of the tablet. This saw a Renaissance within the phone industry a reversion to have larger devices but encapsulated with today’s advance technology.  So what classifies a smartphone as a phablet? Obviously its size, phones with a screen size of over five (5) inches when measured diagonally falls into this category.

The phablet market is a unique niche, those of us adventurous enough to change our perspective to accept these comparatively large phones should have relatively little problem, for those that are accustomed to the small inconspicuous compact phone that can be cupped and enclosed in one hand, fit snugly into our pants pocket which could still hold a wallet or our car keys may be somewhat apprehensive. The phablet presents a new era of technological convergence, as within one device we can receive our traditional phone calls, text, surf the web, receive data messages and accomplish a wide range of computing functions such as typing, viewing multimedia, text documents of varying formats, taking pictures and connecting to the wide range of social media applications. To me the phablet does not seek to replace neither the mobile smart phone nor the tablet, but provide a platform that seeks to satisfy the better of two worlds. It provides an efficient medium for the digital convergence of Information Technologies, Telecommunications, Consumer Electronics, and Entertainment in one device.

I personally was somewhat hesitant to transition to these phones as I had the unfortunate habit of either misplacing or forgetting my phone while travelling and I just saw a phone for its primary purpose to make and receive calls so devices which provided functionality outside of this was unnecessary so I thought. Then I went back to school this provided a new perspective to me, almost everyone I encountered on campus had a smart phone and some where the infamous phablet. I observed these phones not only being used for leisure, but to increase productivity, students were using them to take notes with a stylus others had them available to access notes online and to provide quick research to answer questions posed in class by lectures.  This definitely made them more attractive and appealing to me also the widescreens were more ergonomic to the eyes.  The phablet certainly provides some benefits, but will they be the next must have gadget or will they be added to the list of could haves that never met its full potential.

Phablets are steadily becoming popular and more common in use. In January 2013, HIS Inc 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. Barclays projected sales of phablets rising from 27 million in 2012 to 230 million in 2015 Many of the established mobile phone manufactures have acknowledged this by providing their own versions of the phablet. The Samsung Galaxy Note series can be considered one of the trend setters in this industry other popular brands include OPPo N1, Sony Xperia Z Ultra,  Nokia Lumia 1520, LG G Flex, HTC One Max and the Huawei Ascend Mate to name a few.

Those of us who are not afraid to hold a phone with both hands or look like we are talking into a book when receiving a phone call will have no problems accepting the phablet into our lives. So is it worth buying and who is this phone for? For those who do not want to be moving around with both a phone and a tablet and can compromise a couple of inches of screen size, it can be for you. Also as mentioned before those wanting to save their eyes form small screen devices may find favor with this device. In an analysis, Engadget identified dropping screen prices, increasing screen power efficiency, increasing battery life and the evolving importance of multimedia viewing as critical in increasing the popularity of the phablet in relation to other handheld devices. So does the phablet have the potential to become a technological fad? Personally I don’t think so, the phablet has already made substantial inroads into the smartphone market and as we see more people using them in their everyday life there acceptability will definitely increase.  For those who will continually say they are oversized and to big there is a simple clothing design solution for this. It’s Just a matter of making pant pockets phablet ready. 

The YouTube video below gives a good overview of the most popular phablets on the market for 2014. A must see very informative with specifications and technical data.