They look like extra-large phones. Some people mistake them for tablets while others simply see them as “big” smart phones.
In the technical world, these smart mobile computing gadgets are referred to as phablets.
In a mobile world ruled by real tablets and a galaxy of smartphones, phablets are slowly but surely creating a new user experience in the wake of their adoption.
They stand out on the mobile computing scene, with their big screen sizes and extra capabilities. Notably, these gadgets can perform the daunting tasks of a smartphone and that of a tablet.
The screen size of these big phones is greater than 4.6 inches but smaller than that of the seven-inch tablet. Their processing power is enhanced to serve as a tablet and as a phone. Most of them spot dual-core processor chips for efficient multitasking.
With a combined experience of a smartphone and a tablet, all-in-one, the gadgets fall in their own category with an enticing taste to device users. The “big” screens are ideal for multimedia content consumption.
As consumers come to terms with the use of this category of gadgets, tech companies are itching for a slice of the market share with a number of models hitting the mobile scene.
Korean tech giant, LG Electronics, is already riding high with a phablet called the LG Optimus VU. The gadget made its debut in Korea in March this year and so far has sold over 500,000 units.
The firm has officially announced that the gadget will be available in most global markets this month. For the global roll-out, the Optimus VU is equipped with a quad core processor that offers a balance of performance and power requirements. The gadget is designed for multitasking, mobile computing, and consumption of multimedia content.
The Optimus VU runs on Android 4.0 operating system. The display is 5-inch 4:3 ratio XGA IPS with 768x1024 pixels. It has two cameras, one in front and the other one, of 8MP, at the back. The gadget has a big display screen with 4:3 aspect ratio. This form factor is receiving a nod from some consumers and gadget geeks.
Samsung Electronics is enticing the Kenyan mobile computing consumer with its phablet. The gadget has a HD super AMOLED capacitive touch screen of 5.3 inches with a resolution of 800x1280 pixels. The gadget runs on Android operating system.
In mid August, Samsung Electronics announced that it has sold 10 million Galaxy Notes in the past nine months. The gadget was launched in November last year. It seems that the company has succeeded in selling a product that many had seen as too big to fit in their pockets.
The Samsung Galaxy’s 5.3–inch HD screen is ideal for multimedia content. Mobile computing users who like big screens will find the Galaxy irresistible. It comes along with an S-pen stylus, which invokes extra means of interacting with the mobile gadget.
Samsung and LG Electronics are joined by a number of contenders who are testing the waters as well. One of them is Panasonic, whose phablet is called the Eluga Power. It is powered by a 1.5 GHZ dual-core processor and runs on an Android 4.0 operating system.
The Panasonic Eluga Power has a 5-inch screen with a resolution of 720x1280 pixels.
Other companies like HTC and a plethora of Android device makers are also eying the phablets market.
The “big phone” trend first came into existence when Dell unveiled its Dell Streak in 2010. This gadget had a 5-inch TFT capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 480x800 pixels. It was powered by a single core processor and survived on a lower version of Android operating system, OS 1.6.
The environment was not rosy for both the maker and the gadget. The Dell Streak succumbed to an early death in August 2011. Incidentally, for the predecessors and upcoming phablets, the market is responsive, with the promise of new user experience.
The author is an ICT analyst and a telecommunication engineer.