Why Apple Will Be Obliged To Build A Phablet (But Probably Not A Table PC)

Quartz’s Christopher Mims predicts that one category of mobile device will blow away all others in the pace of its growth, expanding 70% in each of the next three years and yielding a $135 billion market by the end of 2015, with vendors moving move 142 million units of this device in 2013 and up to 402 million by 2015, according to project analysts at Barclays – more than three times the number of iPhones sold in 2012, and Apple doesn’t make one – at least yet?

That would be a phablet; a 5-inch or larger smartphone like Samsung’s 5.3-inch Galaxy Note that’s almost as big as a tablet, combining aspects of both.

Mims notes that while “Phablet” was coined as a term of derision by a cynical press corps, the Galaxy Note turned out to be a surprise hit, with 10 million units sold as of last summer, and the the Galaxy Note II, which is even larger than the Galaxy Note, looks to be an even bigger hit, selling 5 million units in just the first three months on the market, and dozens of phone makers have announced their own phablets, with some analysts climbing aboard to declare 2013 to be the Year of the Phablet

And while it’s as yet unclear whether phablets will ultimately become the netbooks of 2013 – a flash-in-the-pan fad whose star rises, burns brightly for a short time, then falls just as rapidly – Mims says he’s willing to bet that Phablets are going to be the PCs of this decade, especially in emerging markets where consumers need a single device that can do absolutely everything, and contends that Apple can’t ignore this phenomenon forever, or even for long.

Mims cites Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, allowing that Apple could come out with an iPhone with a bigger screen by this summer, noting that unlike netbooks, a category that Apple famously ignored, phablets tend to be high-end devices that fit with Apple’s pattern of making best in class hardware that allows the company to maintain its high margins, and that one way Apple could instantly dominate the market would be by creating the biggest phablet ever: put an LTE phone chip in the iPad mini.

Phablets and Table PC: Breaking the PC Mold

Two new buzzwords emerging from CES this year are “phablets” and Table PCs – two new technologies that NPD DisplaySearch Analyst Richard Shimaddresses in his recent blog post entitled “Phablets and Table PC: Breaking the PC Mold”

In this post, Shim talks about the blurring of the lines between types of devices, which are becoming increasingly more difficult to define, observing that this year’s CES was noteworthy from a device perspective because of designs that defied or pushed the limits of convention. In the smartphone market, the emerging and size-defying “phablet” category had some new entrants that are testing the screen size boundaries of a phone while the all-in-one desktop market is also pushing design and usage models with new table PCs

Panasonic Previews Huge 20-inch Tablet Computer

During the opening keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, Panasonic Corporation announced development of a new 4K Tablet with a 20-inch 4K IPS Alpha LCD and a high precision pen. It is expected to significantly enhance the way Architects, Engineers and Construction (AEC) professionals view and interact with digital drawings.

Targeted to become available later this year, the jumbo-sized tablet’s 20-inch IPS Alpha LCD panel contains more than four times the resolution of Full High Definition. Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, it leverages the touch capabilities of Windows 8 and includes a precision digital pen for making notes on the panels screen. This lightweight and less than an half inch thick tablet is slim, portable and touted as representing the future of design review, bid, estimation, RFI response, and plan room access to drawing sets.

The Panasonic 4K tablet is on display through January 11th at CES in Panasonic booth C9806.

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