Google Plans to Unveil Phablet and New Version of Android

Google’s new smartphone, expected to launch later this month, will be larger than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note. The high-resolution display is 5.9 inches diagonally, making it large enough to be categorized as a phablet. The handset, code-named Shamu, intends to compete in an emerging market of increasingly popular hybrid devices across the U.S. and abroad. Google also reportedly plans to debut a new version of its Android mobile OS at the same time.

googlePhablets, or smartphones with a screen larger than 5 inches, are designed for people who use their devices for more than just phone calls and basic social networking. Instead, users can complete work tasks and consume video online on the bigger screen of a phablet.

Strategy Analytics predicts that large smartphones will account for 24 percent of the market this year, up from just one percent of the market last year.

The Google phablet will be part of the Nexus brand and will run on the new version of Android. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Google hopes to deliver a Nexus phone that rivals the iPhone 6 Plus on display quality but at a lower price.”

Currently, the iPhone 6 Plus costs $749 without a contract (more than $800 in Asia).

Asian buyers are one of the main targets of the new Google phone. Some Asian consumers consider large smartphones to be a status symbol like a large house or car.

In emerging markets, large smartphones serve a different purpose. For some consumers, the large smartphone may be their first Internet-connected device, so they use phablets as their main gateway to the Web, instead of desktops and laptops.