If it’s bigger than a phone, but smaller than a tablet, it must be... a phablet.
Oh, isn’t that just phabulous? In the end, the name probably doesn’t matter, even if it’s teeth-grindingly annoying. It’s here, and consumers will decide soon enough if it’s a category-killer or a landfill filler.
Samsung Electronics started the trend with its jumbo 5.3 inch Galaxy Note smartphone. The company reportedly will stretch the specs a bit, to 5.5 inches, with the release of the Galaxy Note II at the end of this month.
With its success, other manufacturers have decided that what the world needs now is another brand of phablet. LG Electronics has its 5-inch Optimux Vu, and HTC reportedly will launch a 5-inch device this fall.
Then there’s Google
(GOOG) with its Nexus 7, which, at 7 inches, is either a tiny tablet or, with some minor tinkering, a whopper of a phone. Whatever it is, PCMag.com’s John C. Dvorak thinks
it’s a fad waiting to happen. And that, he says, may leave Apple
(AAPL) flat-footed, as it has failed to produce either a bigger iPhone or a smaller iPad.
The positive argument for the phablet is that it combines the functions of two portable devices, making it that much easier, not to mention less expensive, to walk around and still get something done. The negative argument is that consumers will fret that they’re going to look really stupid holding one of these suckers up to their ears, like Maxwell Smart with his shoe, or Gordon Gekko with his early brick-sized phone in Wall Street
Given the new product cycle of electronic devices these days, figure it will take until the end of 2012 for the phablet to take off or flop.
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