As you may know, phablet is a portmanteau word with rather vague origins. No one seems to know exactly when, and by whom it was used for the first time - although GSMA’s Director of Technology claims it was him who made up the term first (but proving this fact is, uhm, difficult - to say the least). In any case, the word usually designates a device with phone capabilities which is larger than a typical smartphone. Apparently, most people agree that a phablet could have a screen size between 5 to 7 inches.
But, with the rapid evolution of mobile technology in recent times, we have to ask: what is a phablet nowadays? The companies that are building all these devices for us certainly don’t have an answer to this question. In fact, they are ignoring the phablet moniker altogether.
Your phablet is not really a phablet - not in the eyes of its maker
Apple is currently the only important smartphone maker that doesn’t offer large-screened handsets. Rumors have it that it will do it later this year, though, as the company allegedly readies new 4.7-inch and a 5.5 inch iPhone models. But we’re pretty sure that Apple won’t use the term phablet when describing the latter device, despite the fact that we're already calling it just that.
Is a product what its maker declares it is, or what consumers say it is?you see, manufacturers don’t seem to appreciate the word phablet. And it’s unlikely that they will adopt it from now on. Granted, we’re using this word quite often here, and most tech-oriented websites do, too. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if manufacturers aren’t calling their products phablets, perhaps we shouldn’t do it, either. This actually leads us to a rather philosophical question: are things what their maker declares they are, or what the rest of the world believes and says that they are?
Of course, a device won’t magically transform into something else if you’re not calling it what it’s supposed to be called. Its very essence remains unchanged regardless of the name it may carry. Still, at the moment, any handset that has a screen of 5 to 6 inches is, by default, called a smartphone - at least by its maker. LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2, and the examples could go on and on - all these would’ve been classified as phablets in 2011 / 2012. But not in 2014. What’s more, we now have mini smartphones that sport 4.7-inch screens (see the LG G2 mini). Needles to say, a 4.7-inch handset was viewed as being huge, almost tablet-like a few years ago.
In the light of all the above thoughts and facts, do you think that there is still need for the word phablet? Or are phone, smartphone and tablet the only meaningful terms that we need to categorize the multitude of mobile devices around us? (Forget smartwatches and wearables, these belong to another discussion). You can not only vote in the poll below, but also weigh in in the comments section. Chances are that you'll be doing that from the comfort of your very own extra-large smartphone. Or is that a phablet, after all?
- Is "phablet" a necessary term anymore?
- Yes. It's still useful to know if we're talking about a huge handset, or a smaller one 55.27% (1422 votes) (1422 votes)
- Nope. Smartphones have evolved enough to comprise all screen sizes, even beyond 6 inches 44.73% (1151 votes) (1151 votes)