Are phablets a phad? Too early to tell

Summary:Flurry noted that phablet app usage isn't all that hot and proclaims the device category a fad. However, the Samsung Galaxy S4 could change that opinion.

The so-called phablet movement---popularized mostly by Samsung---may merely be a passing fad, according to data compiled by Flurry, an app advertising network. The problem: Samsung's Galaxy S4 is likely to fare well and skew the phablet data going forward.

In a blog post, Flurry outlined what devices are tapping into its network. Flurry defined small phones as devices with 3.5 inch screens and under, medium phones with screens between 3.5 inches and 4.9 inches (iPhone 5, Galaxy S3) and phablets with screens 5 inches to 6.9 inches. For good measure, small tablets had screens with 7 inches to 8.4 inches and full size tablets had screens above 8.5 inches.

This Flurry chart tells the tale:




That light gray sliver---representing phablets---isn't well represented on Flurry's network. Flurry's subhead proclaims phablets are a fad. Android owns the phablet market and Samsung dominates.

Flurry noted:

Phablets appear to make up an insignificant part of the device installed base, and do not show disproportionally high enough app usage to justify support.

Here's the problem with Flurry's data, however. It's too early to call phablets a fad. As currently defined, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will qualify as a phablet. That device is likely to sell well.

In other words, Flurry's phablet participation---assuming it keeps with its current definitions---is likely to head higher. If the Samsung Galaxy S4 gets a few quarters under its belt and doesn't move the phablet needle then feel free to proclaim a fad.


Topics: Tablets, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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