When big-screen smartphone/tablet hybrids first started to appear, most dismissed the idea as nothing but a fad. After all, who would want to carry a device with a screen over 5-inches around all day? It turned out many people did, and now flagship smartphones from most manufacturers have screens as large or even larger than 5-inches.
According to findings from industry watchers Juniper Research, the phablet craze isn’t about to end either, as it states that sales will rise to 120 million by 2018, a huge increase from the 20 million sold last year. While we’re used to buying such large phones already, companies will find other international markets, such as China and South Korea, are most eager to snap up new hardware.
Juniper says China wants big-screen phones thanks to the popularity of streaming video and television, while South Korea is more interested in gaming. The desire for more phablets means prices will drop, and manufacturers will sell big-screen phones at both ends of the scale. Samsung is doing this already with its Galaxy Grand series, and potentially with the rumoured Galaxy Note Lite.
It’s unsurprising that Juniper says Android and Windows Phone will be the most popular operating systems on future phablets. Nokia is the first to push Windows Phone into phablet territory with the Lumia 1520, and we can expect more to follow over the coming year.
Mobile World Congress begins at the end of next month, and we should see a wide selection of new smartphone/tablet hybrids announced.