Many you may or may not remember the Dell Streak. It was the original “Phablet”. It was the first 5-inch device, it sold rather well for a Dell Android device, which they never had success in Android. Then in 2011, Samsung took a risk and introduced the Galaxy Note. It was their first 5.3-inch device, and it sold pretty well. It actually sold 10 million units by August 2012, which it was only on AT&T here in the US for less than 6 months at that point. Now the Galaxy Note 2 was announced in August of 2012, and put onto every major carrier in the US. It has sold very well and broke some records. Now you’re seeing a lot of other manufacturers go ahead and do big devices like that.
At CES we saw the Huawei Ascend Mate, which is a 6.3-inch Android device, and at Mobile World Congress this week we saw the ZTE Grand Memo which is a 5.7-inch device. Now some will argue that anything above 5-inches is a phablet, but I feel 5-inch display is the cut off, as it is still easily accessible compared to the Note 2. While those two devices likely won’t come to the US anytime soon, we will see others from other manufacturers soon.
We’ve seen stuff like this happen before. Anyone remember the original Motorola Droid? How many Android phones were around before that bad boy? Only a couple, including the HTC G1/Dream, which is the grandfather of Android. After the Droid was announced, available and sold very well, you saw all kinds of phones coming out from every manufacturer around. In fact from some of them you would see about 10 or more flagship devices in a year. In 2011, Motorola introduced around 18 different phones. Now in the US, that might not seem like a lot since there are 4 carriers and one flagship for each carrier, but we’ve been down this road before.
We’re probably going to see quite a few phablets coming out this year and into 2014, and 2015. With Google really giving the competition a run for its money by selling devices at cost, the prices should likely come down as well. In fact, this morning the Oppo Find 5 finally went on sale and the 16GB was selling for $499 and the 32GB for $569. It sold out in about 15 minutes. The Oppo Find 5 is a quality made 5-inch Android phone, and it sold out as fast as the Nexus 4.
In 2013, you’ve got Samsung leading the charge in the smartphone market, with the others struggling to catch up. You’ve got HTC and Motorola which are really struggling to make some cash and some good devices. Then there’s ZTE and Huawei who are trying to get their foot in the US market since the other big players are struggling against big and bad Samsung. So we should see some nice 5-inch or larger devices coming out this year for around $300-500 without a contract, which seems to be the next big thing lately.
How many of you are currently using a phablet, or looking to get one as your next phone? I’m really hoping Google releases two Nexus phones in 2013. A 4.5-4.8-inch one and a 5.3-5.5-inch Nexus. That way everyone can have what they want with stock Android. Let us know in the comments below what you think about it.