While Samsung and even Dell with its original 5-inch Streak Android would argue that they were the ones to kick off the phablet revolution, it’s clear that Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus has made phablets ‘cool’.
But while the iPhone 6 Plus has really shone a light on the category, analyst firm Juniper Research thinks it is ‘budget devices that will drive phablets (smartphones with 5.5-6.9” screens) into the global mainstream.’
The company has released a new report, entitled ‘Tablets, Phablets & Hybrids: Ecosystem Evolution, Vendor Landscape & Forecasts 2014-2019’, and naturally, it wants to sell copies of the report.
An accompanying 88-table enhanced Excel workbook with 4000 unique data points is a companion to the Tablets, Phablets & Hybrids Report, and provides access to the full suite of forecast data, including additional forecasts not in the report.
There is also a freely downloadable whitepaper entitled ‘One Screen to Rule Them All’ which you can get here.
The main report has found that ‘with steady increases in smartphone screen sizes, many flagship smartphones are likely to be phablets by default within 2 or 3 years.’
‘Because consumers worldwide are increasingly using smartphones as media consumption and gaming devices, which offer richer experiences through a larger screen.’
As you might have already guessed from your own buying intentions or those of your friends, the report tells us that ‘consumers with phablets will be less likely to buy smaller-screened tablets, and the price of larger screens may put them off entirely.’
Juniper says it ‘expects this trend to slow tablet adoption in markets where consumers already do most computing on smartphones, such as China.’
What this leads to is some ‘components convergence’.
Juniper says its report ‘has also found that for many stakeholders, device elements are becoming more similar.’
The report’s author, James Moar said: “The same chips can now power any mobile device, from smartphones to laptops.
“Hardware capabilities are blurring, with devices like cellular-connected tablets, phablets and smartphones with console-level graphics and sound systems becoming much more common. This shifts device design parameters to budgets and use cases, rather than technological features."
One key finding in the report is that Chinese vendors looking to expand their tablet and phablet offerings internationally will be ‘likely to see much slower growth due to low-key marketing strategies and online-only distribution.’
Another is that ‘the use of phablets in the workplace is expected to increase in the coming years, with vendors offering productivity software as standard with certain devices.’