Ng: Phablet phenomenon

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Thursday, September 4, 2014


A FEW years back, Samsung introduced a Galaxy Note that was far bigger than the usual handset. Most smartphones then had a four-inch screen, but this was extraordinarily big at 5.3 inches. People mocked it as too big, but slowly, it got accepted and become the new norm. It set the stage for Samsung to become the largest smartphone producer in the world.

IDC is now predicting that phablets or phone-tablet hybrids will be the sweet spot of growth. This is the new word coined for smartphones that have screen sizes of about 5.5 inches to 6.99 inches. Devices with more than seven inches are considered tablets.

This year, IDC said 175 million phablets will be shipped from almost zero four years ago. It is even projected to exceed the sale of laptops. Next year, it will grow to more than 300 million, surpassing even the projected 230 million tablets that will be sold. Phablets are about 14 percent of total smartphones sold this year but the projection is it will reach more than 1/3 in the next few years.

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Even Apple is expected to introduce a 5.5 inch phablet soon. Samsung just released its 5.7 inch Galaxy Note 4 and the 5.6 inch Galaxy Note Edge.

This could be a hit – the phablet curves around the right side of the edge – giving it a sort of infinity pool effect. Even then, the rumors have it that Apple is very bullish and even ordered 30 to 40 percent more of the new large screen phablets produced compared to the production run last year of iPhone 5S and 5C.

Meantime on the desktop and notebook space, I went over the operating systems and Windows was still the dominant operating system with almost a 92 percent share. Mac has 6.7 percent and Linux with only slightly over one percent, according to Net Application.

I tried Windows 8.1 and it is much improved over windows 8, but so far, it was only able to garner around seven percent market share. Over half of Windows was still Windows 7. Since by next year, Windows 9 would probably be introduced, everybody is sort of predicting that Windows 8 will be a limited success.

Microsoft has been on this seesaw since Windows 98. Windows 95 was a big hit as was Windows 98. Then Windows ME was no good, but Windows XP was great. Then Windows Vista was a limited success, which was followed by the huge success of Windows 7.

It may play out again with Windows 8 being limited success and Windows 9 which everybody is predicting will be much better. So good follows after bad. Or maybe most users just aren’t willing to upgrade immediately after spending for an upgrade and is just waiting for the next version.

(www.twitter.com/wilsonng)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 05, 2014.

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