The untimely demise of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 has opened up a chunk of the phablet market for the taking, and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is the latest company to throw its name into the hat.
Xiaomi, on Tuesday, introduced two new phablets - handsets with a screen size generally ranging between 5 and 6 inches - in China: the flagship Mi Note 2, the successor to its Mi Note handset, and the new Mi MIX, with a 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio, which was jointly developed with famed French designer Philippe Starck.
This means, aside from the margins, the screen on the Mi MIX takes up most of the phone's width and height. Xiaomi also did away with physical earpiece speaker – a crucial component in all handsets - on the device. Instead, it uses piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology that makes it possible to listen to calls without needing the earpiece speaker.
"What we announced yesterday, in some ways, caught the world by surprise a bit," Xiaomi's global vice president, Hugo Barra, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. "It's a level of innovation I think people haven't normally been expecting to come out of Asia."
Research from International Data Corporation (IDC) showed the global smartphone market is currently dominated by leaders Samsung and Apple, and Chinese rivals Huawei, OPPO and vivo, with customers demonstrating growing preference for phablets.
Earlier this year, Xiaomi was knocked out of the top five places among smartphone vendors by shipment volume and the handset maker has struggled to get back in ever since.
IDC said in March that in 2015, 20 percent of smartphones shipped were phablets and by 2020, that number was expected to rise to 32 percent.
Phablets also tend to fall in the premium category of devices - meaning they are priced much higher than the average smartphones.