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Phablet popularity grows worldwide

At the end of August, Oxford added a slew of new words to its official dictionary. Among them was “phablet,” a term used to describe mobile devices with screens larger than five inches but smaller than seven inches.

While the term phablet rose to prominence in 2012, the actual devices have been around a lot longer. In fact, the first phablet dates back to 2007 when HTC Corporation released the HTC Advantage X7500.

Today the most common and popular phablet devices are made by Samsung. The most recent version, the Galaxy Note II sold five million units in the first two months of its release. Samsung recently announced their latest device, the Galaxy Note III, which is expected to surpass sales of the first two devices.

According to International Data Corporation, a market research firm, phablets have become so popular, they are now outselling tablets. In September, the firm discovered that phablets sales outnumbered sales of portable PCs and tablets in the Asia-Pacific region. According to sales data from April to June, tech firms shipped 25.2 million phablets, compared with 12.6 million tablets, and 12.7 million portable PCs.

This increase in phablet popularity presents a unique opportunity for app developers. These devices are designed to eliminate the need for both a smartphone and a tablet because they combine the best of both devices. Those looking for the portability of a smartphone and the visual display of a tablet can have the best of both worlds with these devices.

This means app developers will be able to capitalize on these hybrid devices by creating apps that play to their strengths. And since the market is relatively new app developers who create apps specifically for phablets will have little competition.

"Some people may design differently for a phablet than they would a smaller phone. Your buttons are going to be bigger, there's more area so you start playing with more content on a single page, and developing a different interface perhaps," said Josh Ellinger, a software engineer in an article on Techradar.com. "A lot of people are still catching up with mobile in general, so I haven't seen much development for a phablet yet, aside from the fact that you could see responsive design add a break point for it.”

At least five corporations have announced plans to release a phablet device within the next year.
Andrey Kudievskiy

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