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A phablet (//), (also known as a phonelet or tabphone or fablet) a portmanteau of the words phone and tablet, is a class of mobile device designed to combine or straddle the functions of a smartphone and tablet. Phablets typically have screens that measure (diagonally) between 5.01 and 6.9 inches (130 to 180 mm), which complement screen-intensive activity such as mobile web browsing and multimedia viewing. Phablets may also include software optimized for an integral self-storing stylus to facilitate sketching, note-taking and annotation. While Samsung's Galaxy Note (2011) is largely credited with pioneering the worldwide phablet market when launched in 2011, examples of early devices with similar form factors date to 1993.
The Android-based Dell Streak included a 5 inch (130 mm), 800×480 display and a widescreen-optimized interface. Reviewers encountered issues with its outdated operating system, Android 1.6 (which was not yet optimized for such a large screen size), and the device was commercially unsuccessful.
The Samsung Galaxy Note used a 5.3 in (130 mm) screen. While some media outlets questioned the viability of the device, the Note received positive reception for its stylus functionality, the speed of its 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and the advantages of its high resolution display. The Galaxy Note was a commercial success; Samsung announced in December 2011 that the Galaxy Note had sold 1 million units in two months. In February 2012, Samsung debuted a Note version with 4G LTE support, and by May 2012 the Note received an update from Android 2.3 to Android 4.0. By August 2012, the Note had sold 10 million units worldwide.
The 2012 Samsung Galaxy Note II employed a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, a 5.55 in (141 mm) screen and the ability to run two applications at once via a split-screen view. Sales of the Galaxy Note II reached 5 million units internationally in two months. The 2012 LG Optimus Vu used a 5-inch (130 mm) display with an unusual 4:3 aspect ratio—in contrast to the 16:9 aspect ratio used by most smartphones. Joining the Galaxy Note II on many carriers' lineups in 2013 was the nearly-identically-sized LG Optimus G Pro, released in April.
Examples of Android phablets with screens surpassing 6 inches in size began appearing in 2013; with the Chinese company Huawei unveiling its 6.1 in (150 mm) Ascend Mate at Consumer Electronics Show, and Samsung introducing the Galaxy Mega, a phablet with a 6.3 in (160 mm) variant, but unlike the Galaxy Note line it does not use a stylus. As a variation of the concept, Asus and Samsung also released otherwise small-sized tablets, the FonePad, Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, with cellular connectivity and the ability to place voice calls. Later that year, Nokia also introduced Windows Phone 8 phablets, such as the 6-inch Lumia 1520.
In an analysis, Engadget identified dropping screen prices, increasing screen power efficiency, increasing battery life and the evolving importance of multimedia viewing as critical factors in the popularity of the phablet. A consumer need for "all-in-one" devices that can serve as both a phone and tablet, especially in emerging markets, has also been considered a factor in the growth of the phablet market. Phablets have also been popular with an older demographic of smartphone users, as their large screens provide a benefit to those with deteriorating eyesight.
In 2012, Forbes magazine noted that while most clothing cannot hold a typical tablet computer, men's clothing in particular could and may well adapt to accommodate phablets. Doug Conklyn, vice president of global design for Dockers told Fox News that the company reworked the size of its pants pockets "to accommodate the growing size of smartphones."
In January 2013, IHS reported that 25.6 million phablet devices were sold in 2012 and estimated that these figures would grow to 60.4 million in 2013, and 146 million by 2016. Barclays projected sales of phablets rising from 27 million in 2012 to 230 million in 2015. In September 2013 International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that its research indicated that phablet size smartphones "overtook shipments of both laptops and tablets in Asia in the second quarter of 2013."
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