Phablets Poised to Become Multibillion Dollar Market by 2018

Phablets — smartphones with screens larger than 5.5 inches — could grow to become a multibillion dollar market in the coming years. Initially ridiculed by some analysts, the ‘phone-tablets’ are experiencing unexpected success with consumers in global regions such as East Asia. Juniper Research forecasts phablet shipments will increase by 100 million units over the next four years (20 million shipped last year). By 2018, Juniper expects manufacturers to ship 120 million units per year.

“Any way you slice it, that’s going to be a multibillion dollar pie — a pie of which Apple currently has no slice whatsoever,” reports VentureBeat. “Right now, price points range for phablets from a hundred or two hundred dollars (subsidized by carriers, natch) to several hundred for unlocked devices.”

This presents opportunities for Android and Windows. In fact, some reviewers have already described the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet as the best Windows 8 device so far.

The larger screen phablets are selling notably well in East Asia, partly because consumers tend to stream a great deal of video and play mobile games.

China’s Huawei is a prime example of an emerging company hoping to become an international brand with the help of phablets. The company showed a phablet at CES last year that was largely ridiculed in the West, but ended up with a strong reception in the East. Last month, Huawei was back at CES with its 6.1-inch Ascend Mate II, which it plans to heavily push in the U.S.

“Large screen phones have been accepted in Asia, but a lot has changed here in the U.S. in the last year as well, and we think it will gain ground,” said Colin Giles, EVP of Huawei. “We are looking at consumers and what will really enhance their experience. A year ago, there was a lot of questioning about a 6.1-inch screen. But the response of our competitors shows a lot more of these devices and a shift in consumer perceptions in the U.S. on this category, too.”

If you’re curious about current phablets, check out the VentureBeat slideshow featuring the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega, Nokia Lumia 1520 Windows Phone, HP Slate 6 smartphone, LG Optimus Vue, Samsung Galaxy Grand 2, Huawei Ascend Mate II, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Related Story:
Huawei’s Phablet Takes Off Globally, Doesn’t Seem So Crazy After All, VentureBeat, 1/16/14