Hybrid devices are taking the reins of the mobile device market since Samsung launched its Galaxy Note. Called hybrid or “phablets’ in English, the success of these models have become the star of CES and throughout 2013.
“We hope that 2013 will be the year of ‘phablet'” said the executive director of the wireless division of Strategy Analytics , Neil Mawston .While Samsung Electronics has opened a path with their Galaxy Note, now other manufacturers are trying to catch up. At the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas, ZTE and Huawei have launched their own bet. ZTE, which collaborated with the Italian designer Stefano Giovannoni for “phablet» Nubia, is launching its Grand S, 5 inches. Meanwhile, Huawei Ascend Mate has introduced the 6.1-inch screen, which is only slightly smaller than the “tablet” Amazon Kindle Fire.
“Users have come to realize that a smart phone with almost 5 inch screen is not as complicated device,” said ABI Research senior analyst in the UK, Joshua Flood . Drive the change “phablet” toward the mainstream is a confluence of trends. Users prefer larger screens because they are consuming more and more visual content on mobile devices than ever before, and fewer voice calls, the weak point of the “phablet ‘.
Similarly, with the influx of “tablet” with WiFi, users have chosen to mix both trends, the ‘smartphone’ and the ‘tablet’. According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, monthly data traffic of all smartphones will grow four times between now and 2018, to 1,900 megabytes.
A market that will quadruple
The result is a market for “phablets” that will quadruple in value up to 135 million dollars (103 million euros) over three years, according to Barclays . Shipments of gadgets of 5 inches or larger screen size will grow by nearly nine times to 228 million units during the same period, although estimates vary, because no one can agree where just a “smartphone” to become a “phablet ‘.
Asia and the Pacific is, and will remain, the largest market in the world for “phablets” says ABI Flood. Last year, the region accounted for 42% of global shipments, a proportion will increase steadily over the coming years to account for over 50% of shipments in 2017, according to ABI.“Countries like Japan and South Korea will be major markets ‘phablets'” Flood said, adding that China, India and Malaysia also experience a growing demand for devices with larger screens, thanks to the deployment of 4G networks.
Jump to 5 inches
Samsung started the trend with the Galaxy Note in late 2011 , with its 5.3 inch screen, a feature that quickly interested users. “The Galaxy Note was started when four inches of smartphones had become commonplace, and the jump to 5 inches was no longer an abyss,” said Strategy Analytics analyst, Mawston.
Since then, Samsung has introduced its successor to 5.5 inches, the Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S3, the latter is the ‘smartphone’ biggest seller in the third quarter of 2012 – which some analysts falls under the category “phablet ». Samsung accounted for about three quarters of all the “phablets” shipped last year, according to Barclays analyst in Taipei,Dale Gai .
This weight of Samsung has paved the way for others. LG Electronics accounted for 14% of sales in the third quarter last year,according to Strategy Analytics. The HTC Droid 5 inches has been sold in places that Samsung is less dominant, according to Yuanta analyst, Dennis Chan. “I do not think we can say that Samsung has invented the ‘phablets’ but has done much to promote this product category, which helped create a tremendous demand,” said the head of ZTE’s product strategy, Qianhao Lv .