Huge Smartphones Will Be Big In 2015—We Don’t Have Much Of A Choice
Let’s talk about the present and future of phablets.
By ADRIANA LEE
Dec 31 2014
ReadWritePredict is a look ahead at the technology trends and companies that will shape the coming year.
According to a report released Monday from analytics firm Flurry, people went nuts for phablets in general—and Apple’s gizmos in particular—over the holiday season.
The report revealed that more than half of new devices activated over Christmas week belonged to Apple, at 51%, while Samsung and Nokia nabbed just 18% and 6%, respectively. Flurry also noted that the trend toward large “phablet” phones heated up, from 3% of devices two years ago to 13% this year.
On the surface, the numbers seem to indicate consumers’ growing obsession for phablets. But it’s a backward look that only tells half the story. To understand what that breakdown means and how it may affect the upcoming year in mobile, you have to take into account a few other details.
“For every Samsung devices [sic] that was activated, Apple activated 2.9 devices,” Flurry wrote. “For every Microsoft Lumia device activated, Apple activated 8.8 devices.” The firm also states that Christmas 2014 “saw a big jump in the number of phablets activated.”
That’s a notable outcome in a holiday season that saw “flat” electronics sales overall. According to MasterCard’s holiday spending report, consumer sentiment is shifting away from buying goods to purchasing “experiences.” Any gadget that can stand out in such a dull retail environment must offer something consumers really want—like a huge screen.
This year marks Apple’s entry into the phablet market, so it’s tempting to chalk up the company’s success to finally satisfying people’s voracious appetite for massive phones. But there’s an inconvenient stumbling block to that narrative: Consumers barely had any other choice.
You can actually count the number of decent small phones with one hand.
The following are five compact smartphones, perhaps the best of the lot, and all of them pale in comparison to their larger siblings. Yet, not even these offer a display smaller than 4.3 inches:
• LG G2 Mini: 4.7 inch display
• Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: 4.5 inch display
• HTC One Mini: 4.5 inch display
• Sony Xperia Z1 Compact: 4.3 inch display
• Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: 4.6 inch display