If a new report from Juniper Research has it right, supersize smartphones - that’s “phablets” to you and me - could see a massive increase in worldwide shipments over the next four years. The growth would result in last year’s 20 million phablet sales increasing all the way up to a huge 120 million units by 2018.
The news reached us from Boy Genius Report, which draws attention to the findings from Juniper Research. Though phablet sales stood at the more meagre (but nevertheless sizable) 20 million units in 2013, the firm believes that a growing interest in larger smartphones will see this figure increase by around 600 percent. For Juniper Research, this drive in phablet sales will gravitate around East Asia and China, where customers are more interested in owning a larger smartphone for on-the-go content consumption.
Indeed, if another firm’s research is well founded, China’s mobile subscribers aren’t expected to fully adopt the iPhone until Apple increases its size; despite the Cupertino, Calif. company’s recent deal with China Mobile, Garter analyst Sandy Shen believes that Apple’s lack of a phablet offering is partly responsible for Apple’s less impressive share of China’s massive smartphone market.
Juniper Research draws attention to the availability of phablets from both large companies and small local vendors in East Asia, which allows the market to “expand in both directions” and offers customers large size smartphones for a multitude of different prices.
It’s worth noting that rumors of an Apple-made phablet iPhone have been circulating online for some time, and recent analysis has indicated that we’ll see a couple of larger smartphones launch from the company in 2014 - one weighing in at 5.5-inches, and another sized at 4.7-inches. Both could satisfy phablet demands from the East, but how would you feel about another iPhone size change? For some, our 4-inch iPhones are just about manageable; once you increase this size, it’s less easier to interact with the smartphone using one hand, and of course previous-generation iPhone owners would have to upgrade select handset accessories, too.
It’ll be interesting to see how 2014 plays out, for a number of other reasons, also. What are your hopes for the year - iPhablet, or no iPhablet?
See also: Spiderweb Software’s Avadon 2: The Corruption Is Set To Reach The iPad On Feb. 28, Apple’s Arizona-Based Sapphire Glass Manufacturing Partner Goes On Hiring Spree, and China’s 3G Market Is Continuing To Boom, Apple Expected To Benefit In 2014.