Just when technophiles were getting used to the idea of smaller tablets and smartphones with all sorts of bells and whistles, along comes the "phablet."
A new trend has begun to sweep the digital world, which is bearing witness to tablets shrinking at the same time that smartphones are getting bigger. The phenomenon has led techies to coin a new phrase in its honor – hence the phablet moniker.
At the Computer Electronics Show last week, analysts noted the sudden leap in the size of smartphone screens, primarily the Galaxy Note by Samsung, the Ascend by China-based Huawei, and Sony's Xperia.
Aside from sending grammarians into paroxysms of rage, phablets carry big implications for the digital wars being waged by Samsung Electronics, Apple, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, among others. Touchscreen devices like smartphones, tablets and now phablets, combine the best of several worlds: web browsing, computing, instant messaging and voice calls.
"The tablet user model does take up a chunk of what PCs used to cover," said Jay Chou, a senior research analyst at research firm IDC. Desktop computers "first came out as a family van, but over time…the tablet [became] the hatchback," he said.