Phablets: The Rise of the Electronic Liger

Carl Weinschenk
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It may be that more isn’t written about phablets, a cross between a phone and a tablet, because the name and the concept itself seem a bit absurd. They are sort of an electronic liger.

Both ligers and phablets do exist, however. While the population of hybrid tigers and lions may not be increasing, the number of phablets is. For instance, phablets are big sellers in South Korea, according to All Things D’s Liz Gannes.

The phablet may become more common elsewhere. This week, Microsoft said that the third update to Windows Phone 8 will feature higher resolutions in anticipation of what BGR reports is an expected generation of phablets based on the operating system.


TG Daily has more on at least one of the Windows Phone phablets, the Nokia Lumia 1520. It is expected to be introduced next week in Abu Dhabi and in the United States next month.


The case for phablets is made by Network World’s Fredric Paul in a piece about HTC’s introduction this week of the One Max:

There's a pretty simple reason for why phablets are finding a home. Smartphones and tablets were designed for a legacy vision of how people use mobile devices -- you know, phones for making phone calls on the go, tablets for consuming content at home. But phablets are perfectly aligned for how people actually use their mobile devices. Staring and poking at that screen for a incredible variety of purposes just about anywhere at any time. Oh, and occasionally making a call.

The phablet concept also is explained well by analyst Patrick Moorehead in Forbes. He describes his initial skepticism about the devices and his quick, and apparently total, conversion to phablet fandom. His piece makes it clear that, from the consumer side, phablets are aimed at folks who are more interested in watching videos and gaming than the phone functions. Writes Moorhead:

As I said in the intro, although I have seen primary phablet research, I never quite understood why people bought phablets. That all ended after I used the Sony Xperia Z Ultra phablet for a few weeks. While phablets have some negative baggage, on the positive side, they really are designed for media consumption, really shining with games and video. During the time I used the Ultra, I didn’t use any of my 7” tablets unless the Ultra was short on battery life. This really put it all in perspective… phablets are literally a 2-in-1, primarily video and game consumption tablet, secondarily a phone.

 

Though Moorhead was speaking from the perspective of consumer entertainment, it is easy to see great business applications: technicians getting detailed and granular videos while on site, vibrant displays for salespeople, captivating advertisements and myriad others.

This all means that phablets are here to stay. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes offers ZDNet’s October list of best phablets: Galaxy Note 3; Galaxy Merge from Samsung; the G2 and Optimus G Pro from LG; the Asus FonePad 7; and the device Moorehead featured, the Sony Experia 2 Ultra.



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