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Phablets: the Next Netbooks

Over the past few years, the average size of smartphone screens has increased dramatically, giving rise to a curious class of portable device called the phablet. Phablets today generally have screen sizes between 5.5 to 6 inches and are designed to appeal to consumers who wish to replace their smartphones and tablets with a single device. While nearly all major smartphone manufacturers have caught onto the trend, another kind of product now threatens the existence of these bizarre hybrids.

Most consumers who have bought phablets have found that these devices are neither big enough to truly replace tablets nor small enough to replicate the portability of smaller smartphones. In fact, some of those consumers, especially those in Asia, have resolved this dilemma by purchasing full-fledged tablets that have the capability of making calls over cellular networks. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 3.5 million of these tablets were shipped in the second quarter of this year. This represents a 60% year-over-year increase. Should this growth continue, phablets will soon be phased out of the cutthroat portable computer industry by cellular tablets.

Written by Raymond Cao ’17



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