What is a Phablet? Will You Want One?

“Phablet” is a word that you will be seeing more often as a new breed of hybrid smartphones makes its way to the marketplace. The term has been coined to describe a device that fills the gap between a cellphone and a tablet computer, taking the first two letters of the word phone, ph, and adding them to the last five letters of tablet to form the word phablet.

What is a Phablet?

There are unofficial dimensions that set the size of a phablet as being somewhere between 4.6″ to about 5.5″ which, as of today, is the largest in its category. I am sure that if a company came out with anything under 7″ in size, which is where current tablets currently start, it would also be considered a phablet. In addition to the word phablet, some have come up with the term “Super Smartphone” to also describe the new devices.

Why a Phablet AKA Super Smartphone?

What is a Phablet? Will You Want One?For all of us who have used phones in the 3″ to 3.5″ range, we have become aware of how difficult it can be to navigate such a small screen. I have a 4″ smartphone that still seems on the small side and it becomes even more evident how small it is when I use my Nexus 7. In addition, smartphones with touchscreens and virtual keyboards limit the amount of viewing area when typing an email or text message. Trying to surf the Internet is also problematic since tapping the screen just to read any text on the screen is almost mandatory — even for those blessed with 20/20 sight.

Had we been satisfied with just a phone-calling device, than a small screen would have been just fine. But today, our phones have become mini-computers that can do just about everything their bigger brethren can do. The progression in size, to me, makes perfect sense. In fact, I will take this upgrade in size one step further. Why not have our 7″ tablets do double duty and include the ability to makes calls?

What Companies Will Be Offering Phablets?

Currently, we’re seeing these brands and models being listed as phablets:

  • LG Optimus Vu
  • HTC One X and One XL on AT&T
  • HTC EVO 4G on the Sprint network
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Galaxy S III

There are more phablets on the way and we should see more offerings in the coming months as companies gear up for the new phablet series of smartphones.

How Popular Will the Phablets Be?

According to the folks at ABI Research, phablets will sell 208 million units by 2016. Shipments will increase 10 times between 2011 and 2012 as phablets become more popular and accepted by consumers. The one phone that is going to be released by LG also takes on not only the height of the screen but also the width that its phablet will have. Pictured below is the new, soon-to-be-released LG Optimu Vu.

What is a Phablet? Will You Want One?

LG Optimus Vu Phablet

Specifications for the LG Optimus Vu are:

  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU (quad core would be better)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera likely to come with 1080p HD video capture
  • 5″ IPS LCD display, with 1024 x 768 resolution
  • By the time the phone is introduced, ICS most likely will be the OS
  • 32 GB built-in storage (no word on microSD slot)
  • Height or length is 5.5″ with a width of 3.5″

Is a Phablet in Your Future?

The only down side I can see is the size of these new devices. It might be a little difficult to slip a phablet into your pocket. But even with this limitation, I can see a phablet as a useful device that could take the place of a smaller smartphone and a 7″ or larger tablet. It will be interesting to see if the sales meet the predictions in the coming years.

What do you think? Would you buy a phablet?

Source: ABI Research

Source: Android and Me

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by John Biehler

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • chssmsterwnook

    You forgot the Galaxy Note, a real “phablet” and the Galaxy Nexus definitely isn’t one -.-

    Oh, and the Vu isn’t worth it, it has a screen ratio of 4:3 meaning it would be close to square, not able to play fullscreen HD content, and would be very uncomfortable in your hand. Especially because it is “supposed” to be running ICS by launch, which is no longer the most recent Android version.

  • Nigel Franco

    I’m guessing you meant to mention the Note and not the Nexus….. I currently own a Galaxy Note for 4 months now and I couldn’t ask for a better device.

  • sdeforest

    Some things flare like a match. They are hot for a short time. Remember netbooks? Where are they now? Would you buy a netbook or a phablet? I think the personal communication function will continue to shrink and get smarter so a single earpiece will replace the Bluetooth/smartphone combo–for that function. Tablets will become flexible and fold up. Swiping will be replaced by volume movements. Phablets will have a shorter life than DVD. Besides, it is an ugly name.

    • Ron Schenone

      LOL I thought is was an ugly name as well. :-)

    • http://www.caseyfrennier.com/ Casey Frennier

      I agree the name Phablet is stupid. They’re really just big phones.

    • chssmsterwnook

      Bloggers should stop calling them phablets then, no one else does :P

  • http://www.caseyfrennier.com/ Casey Frennier

    I definitely want a Phablet. I will be seriously looking at the Galaxy Note II (on August 28th I hope). I’ve played with a Galaxy Note and I love the bigger screen. It’s about as big as you can get for a typical pocket. I didn’t think I’d have any any use for the s-pen but I did enjoy it.

    I usually use a bluetooth or wired headset with my phone anyway. If someone would put real phone functionality in a decent 7 inch tablet I’d buy that in a heartbeat.

  • http://www.jadtechnic.tk/ Richard Dambrosi

    i think they will stick around I think they are just a step ahead of there time , thats not always a bad thing..

    • http://www.caseyfrennier.com/ Casey Frennier

      I agree. So much of what smartphones do is visual. It just makes sense for them to have a bigger screen.

  • http://www.maxmajewski.net/ Maximilian Majewski

    Before having my Xperia S, I was using a Samsung Galaxy Tab (7″) with a bluetooth headset as my phone device. A bigger screen really is great. That’s one of the reasons why I never liked the iPhone.
    So who knows what I’ll get when I feel I need an upgrade. However, I have no problem with a 5″ device.

    I agree with the others. The Galaxy Nexus and SIII are no ‘Phablets’.

  • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Ryan Matthew Pierson

    These things take it a bit too far. I miss my old Handspring Visor.

  • Jordan Vasquez

    I didn’t know my Nexus was a phablet but ok XD

    I think they will become more popular, but first our pockets need to become bigger…

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    My Nexus 7 is nice, but I don’t reach for it as frequently as I think Google would want me to. Do I really need anything in between an iPhone and an iPad? Meh.

  • http://gplus.to/boojay boo Jay

    Phablets are annoying because they’re uncomfortable to use and defeat the whole purpose of portability. There really is no middle ground between a phone and a tablet. Tablets are cumbersome, phablets are slightly less cumbersome. I could care less about screen size, bigger is better, but it’s the physical phone dimensions that I’m most interested in. They keep making phones bigger and bigger. What are we? In the 80s?