What We Now Consider "Phablets" May Soon Just Be Called "Phones"


Have you ever seen "Zoolander"? Hear me out. If you haven't seen it, there's a part where Ben Stiller as the title character uses his latest and greatest phone -- and it's stupid tiny. When cell phones first came out they were huge. Big, brick-like looking things. Then, as technology advanced, components got smaller and so did the phones. This began the race to see who could make the smallest functional cell phone and it looked like that was the way the world would go with these new-found gadgets. So, maybe a cheesy Ben Stiller movie shouldn't be used to gauge the future of electronics.

Small it out and big is in, at least according to a new report from BI Intelligence. To them, a phablet is described as a phone ranging from 5" to 7" and phones in that size are the fastest growing category in the industry now. They estimate that global shipments for phablets  will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% in the next five years. This is almost double the 15% rate for smartphones over the same period. Phablet shipments are also slated to account for 59% of all smartphones in 2019, which adds up to 1.5 billion devices. By contrast, this year they're only expected to account for 35% of the market.

With these numbers growing so fast, they naturally have to be eating into another category and that poor group is tablets. The tablet market is currently on the low end of the see-saw and going lower every day. In fact, by 2018, the report indicates that phablet shipments could outnumber tablets three-to-one.

Another winner in this lopsided race is social media as a whole. The larger screens of phablets lead to sustained on-the-go engagement on content-centric apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Because of this, they estimate that over half the time spent of tablets is spent on social media.

Have you noticed this trend or do you not pay attention to this stuff like we do? Originally, these big phones had big names to go along with them. Now, they're just the new flagship phones. Even Apple is rumored to be joining the phablet fun sometime soon. Personally, I'm rocking the Galaxy Note 3 and loving it. I originally got it for the S Pen functions for my day job, but the size has hooked me and I can't see ever going back smaller. Then again, I'm no Ben Stiller.

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Ryan writes about Android stuff on his laptop in a little town in the Texas panhandle. He's a big geek and loves words so this situation is perfect for him.