Phablet usage has begun to increase dramatically, according to research published by the Flurry Analytics unit at Yahoo. A phablet is a larger phone or smaller tablet device, with a screen size limited to under 7 inches.
The Flurry Analytics report shows that phablet use has increased from 5 per cent to 20 per cent of all active devices over the past two years. The medium-sized phone market – devices with screens of 3.5 inches to 4.9 inches – appears to have been worst hit by this increase.
The phablet market really began to take off following Samsung’s launch in 2011 of the Galaxy Note. The 5.3-inch screen was massive for a phone at the time of its launch, but the Note has been a big hit with consumers in markets across the world, notching up sales of 50 million in its first two years. Other device manufacturers have followed suit, including LG, Sony and Nokia. Not wanting to be outdone, Apple launched the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014.
Figures compiled by research company Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the first quarter of 2015 show that phablets had a 21 per cent slice of smartphone device sales in the US, compared to just 6 per cent at the same time in 2014. Phablet sales trends have been led by Asian markets, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, which have accounted for as much as 50 per cent of active users, according to Flurry.
Android’s openness to device makers positions it to dominate the emerging market for phablets. It seems unlikely, however, that Apple will surrender this market segment, and a budget phablet is a distinct possibility. Nokia has developed a 6-inch phablet, and Microsoft is unlikely to want to be left out either, given the imminent launch of the new Windows 10 operating system.
What might the phablet trend mean for content? Web copywriting will have to take into account the platforms on which phablets run and the particular needs of an Android versus Apple iOS device, for instance. Likewise, video production needs will differ, given Android’s enabling of Flash and the need to accommodate or convert Flash on a platform such as iOS, which is not something that every consumer is minded to do.