According to a recent report from Tapjoy the Phablet market isn’t actually a market at all. The Galaxy Note and Note II have been wildly successful products from Samsung. In fact, these two devices alone comprise 8% of the Android smart phone market. They are not just popular devices, they represent bold innovation from Samsung. The Note is more than just a bigger smart phone; the Galaxy Note and Note II are the largest smartphones to reach popularity. These devices also have magnificent battery life, crisp screens and a dynamic stylus. Despite Steve Jobs’ arrogant, condescending, “If you see a stylus they blew it” remark, the Note has proved that a stylus that does more than just replace the tip of your finger is still relevant in today’s mobile devices.
As you can see in the graphic below the Note and Note II make up 4% of all the active Android devices being used on earth today. Impressive to say the least. But is there an actual Phablet market? No, there isn’t. The Note line represents more than 99% of the “Phablet Market.” I am not going to get caught up in the semantics of exactly what constitutes a “market” but as far as the mobile industry is concerned in order for there to be a market for something there must be some semblance of competition. This is not the case when we are talking about phablets, there are only the Note and Note II, and nothing else. Kudos to Samsung for creating a whole new category of mobile device and then managing to dominate that space in time to get two (possibly 3?) iterations of the original successful product into the hands of consumers before anyone else can make even a semi-viable copycat. There should be competing products coming out from Asus and possibly a few second-tier chinese manufacturers this year, but I wouldn’t bet on any of them carving out a niche for themselves.
The Note and Note II are products that seem ridiculous at first glance. Who would want a phone that big? But in all my years of covering Android devices the Galaxy Note devices are probably the most universally loved phones I have ever come across. Note owners are practically a cult. Try making fun of a Galaxy Note to its owner and you will get a stronger reaction than any I’ve seen from lovers of a particular device. They know their phone is almost comically huge, but they also know it is powerful, has great battery life, and is loaded with the ability to actually allow them to get things done from their phone, and that is what these devices are all about. The phablet market may be a lie, but I don’t doubt that phablets are here to stay.