Google in October 2014 is expected to to release its largest-screen-ever device, with a screen measuring 5.9 inches diagonally.
The Nexus device, code-named Shamu after a popular killer whale, will feature a screen larger than the iPhone 6 Plus, which features a screen measuring 5.5 inches, and the Samsung Galaxy Note, featuring a screen of 5.7 inches.
In 2011, phablets accounted for one percent of global smartphone shipments. In 2014, phablets will account for 24 percent of the market, according to Strategy Analytics.
The phablet category arguably has emerged because the function of a smartphone has changed.
In the past, a phone was about “calling,” so small size arguably was an advantage, making it easier to fit a phone into a pocket or purse. Then texting and email became more important, emphasizing the advantages of a keyboard.
These days, those functions have been augmented, or supplanted, by Internet access, content consumption and transactions.
That calls for new features. Screen size and browser support then become more important.
It is just an anecdote, but I can remember the growing unhappiness I experienced as a BlackBerry user who really appreciated the email functionality, but also was finding that email support was less mission critical than Internet access and browser-accessed apps.
In other words, though I expect a phone to handle voice and support texting, the most-important criteria is usefulness for app and browser support.
For others, the value also includes the device functioning as a music player platform, or a playback device for entertainment video.
For all those reasons, phablets make sense.
The emergence of tablets also arguably is having an impact. As users once often had to juggle leaving the house with a notebook, a phone and a music player, they today often have to choose between notebooks, tablets and phones.
A phablet can reduce the need to carry one extra device.