Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
4/2/2013
01:05 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Samsung's Galaxy Mega Phablets May Go Too Far

Samsung is rumored to be working on two more big smartphones, even though they may be a short-lived product category.

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Takes A Bow
Samsung Galaxy S 4 Takes A Bow
(click image for slideshow)
It is possible we've reached the point of diminishing returns in the race to make the smartphone with the biggest screen. A new report suggests that Samsung is preparing a line of big-screened smartphones -- often referred to as phablets -- under the Samsung Galaxy Mega bannerhead.

The report, which comes from Sammobile, pegs two new models, the GT-I9152 and GT-I9200. The first of these devices is expected to have a 5.8-inch display and will support two SIM cards. This means it will probably be targeted at markets outside the U.S. The second of these devices, however, will have a 6.3-inch screen. This dovetails with reports about the Samsung Galaxy Note III, which is also expected to use a 6.3-inch screen. It is likely that the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 and the Galaxy Note III are one in the same.

The change in the branding is curious, and may signal Samsung's intent for the two phones.

Consider the original Galaxy Note, which helped define the phablet category with its 5.3-inch display. It had a stylus and was something Samsung marketed towards business users. The Note's software and apps featured plenty of business-friendly functions, such as note-taking capabilities and ability to multitask. The Note was followed with the Note 10.1, a productivity-minded tablet that also had a stylus. The Note II followed both in late 2012, and Samsung revealed the Note 8 tablet -- also with a stylus -- in February.

[ What's Google planning for its updated 7-inch Nexus tablet? See Google Nexus 7, Take Two: What To Expect . ]

Could it be that the new Galaxy Mega sub-brand is meant to entice non-business users? Will they be more media centric? Will they ship with or without styli? These questions remain unanswered, but fall within reason.

Beyond the marketing focus of these two devices, their size raises questions. For starters, where do phablets end and tablets begin?

The Samsung Galaxy Note II has a 5.5-inch screen. The LG Optimus G Pro has a 5.5-inch screen. Samsung (and LG) expect consumers to purchase devices with large screens and carry them around like cellphones. Samsung also makes tablets with screens that start at 7.0 inches. The difference between 6.3 and 7.0 inches isn't that much.

One company believes phablets are a phad, er, fad. Flurry analyzed the top 200 devices that access its app network and broke them down by screen size.

In terms of active users, about 7% are using devices with screens smaller than 3.5 inches (small); 72% are using devices with screens between 3.5 and 4.9 inches (medium); 3% are using devices with screens between 5 and 6.9 inches (phablets); 5% are using devices with screens between 7 and 8.4 inches (small tablet); and 13% are using devices with screens larger than 8.5 inches (full-sized tablets).

Flurry, which performed this analysis to help developers better target their applications, concludes that "phablets appear to make up an insignificant part of the device installed base, and do not show disproportionally high enough app usage to justify support."

At the end of the day, midsized smartphones and full-sized tablets are the two most-used form factors. This leaves us pondering just how long phablets will be en vogue, and how soon might they go the way of the dodo.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey on IT spending priorities. Take the InformationWeek 2013 IT Spending Priorities Survey today. Survey ends April 5.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Zod
50%
50%
Zod,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2013 | 3:38:39 AM
re: Samsung's Galaxy Mega Phablets May Go Too Far
I agree with you on using a tablet, but I still need connectivity and my cellphone needs to be tether capable, so no flip phone.
wht
50%
50%
wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/4/2013 | 1:54:16 AM
re: Samsung's Galaxy Mega Phablets May Go Too Far
My Galaxy Tab2 7" gets lots of use. My phone is hardly ever used except to receive a call or a message. I could bet by with a basic flip phone and a small tablet 98% of the time now.
UberGoober
50%
50%
UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
4/3/2013 | 5:28:45 PM
re: Samsung's Galaxy Mega Phablets May Go Too Far
One device to rule them all....

Ain't gonna happen. The issue here is what compromises make the most sense, and that's a value judgement. There won't be a single device or even pair of devices that suit eveyone. A phablet won't suit everyone, but if you want to carry a dinner plate on your belt and hold it up to your head to make a call, that's OK. It likely won't carve out a huge market share, but I'd LOVE to have 3% of the smartphone market.
Zod
50%
50%
Zod,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/2/2013 | 9:30:31 PM
re: Samsung's Galaxy Mega Phablets May Go Too Far
I love my Samsung Galaxy Note (original, not Note II or otherwise) But I still find my self returning to my Galaxy Tab 7 II to perform tasks that require more screen realestate... I would love to have a phone that can replace both my phone *AND* my tablet!
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - August 27, 2014
Who wins in cloud price wars? Short answer: not IT. Enterprises don't want bare-bones IaaS. Providers must focus on support, not undercutting rivals.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Howard Marks talks about steps to take in choosing the right cloud storage solutions for your IT problems
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.