I recall, many years ago, a friend once telling me that there’s only one thing a man would be proud to admit as being small – his mobile phone. Back then the advance of technology meant that mobiles were getting smaller and smaller. There were some really tiny devices around too. The smallest mobile I ever had was a Nokia 7210 which came in at a puny 106 x 45 x 17.5 mm. It was a tiny little critter but it did the job nicely. Then, in 2007 along came the iPhone with its touch screen technology. It shook up the market and set it on a totally different path. All of a sudden mobiles started growing exponentially in size and we were graced with smart phones that did anything and everything imaginable. My poor little Nokia would be called a feature phone today, and no self respecting geek would be seen dead with one!
In the last couple of years phones have grown huge. My current pocket sized box of magic tricks is a HTC Desire S . It “boasts” a 3.7 inch screen. When I bought it two years ago this was considered average but today is considered small. My how times have changed! If you look at today’s market, top of the range models such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One have an average screen size in the region of 5 inches. While they’re veritable behemoths, they are still referred to as smart phones. What really intrigues me is the new phenomenon of phablets.
You’ve probably already guessed that the name is the somewhat unflattering love child resulting from the romantic interlude between phone and tablet. There’s no official definition of what falls into the phablet category, the general consensus being that a phablet is any mobile phone having a screen size between 5 and 7 inches. There are a number of models on the market including the Samsung Galaxy Note and the Sony Experia Z Ultra. Many attribute the Note as being the first true phablet and the device that kicked off this segment back in 2011. They have proved immensely popular and a number of new models, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One Max, are expected to be announced at the IFA this coming September .
My question, and the point of my rambling, is why are phablets so popular? Why are people ready to hand over a fistful of Euros for a mobile the size of a surfboard? I’d feel like a total prat with something that huge by my ear! Well, you see, it all boils down to what we use mobile phones for today. Ten years ago, a mobile was for calls, texting and possibly managing a calendar of appointments. Today, these are considered as secondary functions. Today’s mobile phone is, first and foremost, a media consumption device. It is used for social media, browsing, watching videos, checking up on grumpy cat, etc, etc. Being a social media junkie myself, I can understand how the phablet fits, how it makes sense. How many calls have I made on my mobile in the last month? One or two. How many times have I used Facebook or LinkedIn? So many I’ve lost count! I reckon this is the trend for most smart phone users and so a phablet is, in reality, a perfect fit. It let’s you avoid running around with both a mobile and a tablet by giving the best of both worlds. It gives a near tablet experience while still being portable and of a relatively comfortable size for putting in a pocket. At the same time, they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some people just don’t like the size and that’s something I can fully understand too.
As for yours truly? I’m warming up to the idea of the phablet. Who knows? Maybe you’ll see me with a brand new Galaxy Note 3 in a few months time!
Till next time! Take care my friends, live long and prosper!!