“Phablet” is a word that you will be seeing more often as a new breed of hybrid smartphones makes its way to the marketplace. The term has been coined to describe a device that fills the gap between a cellphone and a tablet computer, taking the first two letters of the word phone, ph, and adding them to the last five letters of tablet to form the word phablet.

What is a Phablet?

There are unofficial dimensions that set the size of a phablet as being somewhere between 4.6″ to about 5.5″ which, as of today, is the largest in its category. I am sure that if a company came out with anything under 7″ in size, which is where current tablets currently start, it would also be considered a phablet. In addition to the word phablet, some have come up with the term “Super Smartphone” to also describe the new devices.

Why a Phablet AKA Super Smartphone?

What is a Phablet? Will You Want One?For all of us who have used phones in the 3″ to 3.5″ range, we have become aware of how difficult it can be to navigate such a small screen. I have a 4″ smartphone that still seems on the small side and it becomes even more evident how small it is when I use my Nexus 7. In addition, smartphones with touchscreens and virtual keyboards limit the amount of viewing area when typing an email or text message. Trying to surf the Internet is also problematic since tapping the screen just to read any text on the screen is almost mandatory — even for those blessed with 20/20 sight.

Had we been satisfied with just a phone-calling device, than a small screen would have been just fine. But today, our phones have become mini-computers that can do just about everything their bigger brethren can do. The progression in size, to me, makes perfect sense. In fact, I will take this upgrade in size one step further. Why not have our 7″ tablets do double duty and include the ability to makes calls?

What Companies Will Be Offering Phablets?

Currently, we’re seeing these brands and models being listed as phablets:

  • LG Optimus Vu
  • HTC One X and One XL on AT&T
  • HTC EVO 4G on the Sprint network
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Galaxy S III

There are more phablets on the way and we should see more offerings in the coming months as companies gear up for the new phablet series of smartphones.

How Popular Will the Phablets Be?

According to the folks at ABI Research, phablets will sell 208 million units by 2016. Shipments will increase 10 times between 2011 and 2012 as phablets become more popular and accepted by consumers. The one phone that is going to be released by LG also takes on not only the height of the screen but also the width that its phablet will have. Pictured below is the new, soon-to-be-released LG Optimu Vu.

What is a Phablet? Will You Want One?

LG Optimus Vu Phablet

Specifications for the LG Optimus Vu are:

  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU (quad core would be better)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera likely to come with 1080p HD video capture
  • 5″ IPS LCD display, with 1024 x 768 resolution
  • By the time the phone is introduced, ICS most likely will be the OS
  • 32 GB built-in storage (no word on microSD slot)
  • Height or length is 5.5″ with a width of 3.5″

Is a Phablet in Your Future?

The only down side I can see is the size of these new devices. It might be a little difficult to slip a phablet into your pocket. But even with this limitation, I can see a phablet as a useful device that could take the place of a smaller smartphone and a 7″ or larger tablet. It will be interesting to see if the sales meet the predictions in the coming years.

What do you think? Would you buy a phablet?

Source: ABI Research

Source: Android and Me

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by John Biehler