In a sponsored article published by Quartz
, Intel iQ Editor-At-Large Ken Kaplan says that despite all the ridicule and doubtful head shaking they caused when they first came out a few years ago, so-called phablets — “tweener” devices, which are between the size of a smartphone and small tablet — have been on fire sales-wise, proving that reports of their imminent death were undoubtedly premature. Kaplan cites metrics from Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes, projecting that between 2012 and 2015 phablet sales of are expected to grow from 27 to 230 million units, and noting that according to Geoff Blaber, vice president of research at CCS Insight
phablets’ appeal may flow from their ability to combine the best of both devices.
He observes that Mobile World Congress 2014 will preview a trend of mobile devices, such as phones, moving toward larger screens, with the conventional benchmark now five inches or greater, with nearly every leading device maker (Apple being a notable exception) already selling at least one phablet model
Kaplan notes that Blaber expects 5.5-inch to 6.9-inch devices to account for 10% of global smartphone shipments by year end 2015, and while he anticipates an array of new wearable devices possibly akin to what he saw last month at CES, Blaber believes that tablets overall are unlikely to be the big theme that they were a few years ago at MWC.
“Wearable technologies promise to overhype and underdeliver, but on the device side I’d expect the most impactful trend to be the seeds sown for massive disruption in LTE,” Blaber tells Kaplan, noting that in the second half of this year, he expects to see 4G wireless network services and devices to really hit the masses driven by a serious increase in competition that will be battling it out on the MWC showroom floor, and also predicts that security will be a key theme,” — particularly around making Android OS powered devices secure for workplaces.
“There’s a clear opportunity for those who can address the Android security issue. That said it’s always a difficult message to sell into the consumer space until there’s a problem–either for the consumers or others in the value chain.”
One of the sleepers at MWC could be 64-bit computing, bringing desktop PC applications to smaller, wireless mobile devices.
The upshot, says Kaplan, appears to be that tablets are evolving to become more like personal computers and smartphones are becoming more like tablets.
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