According to analysts who research and follow the mobile phone marketplace, over 140 million units will be sold in the “phablet” super-sized phone category this year. The market for larger than life phones continues to grow as a section of smartphone buyers find real value in a larger phone which they use more as an Internet browsing and app device, rather than a pure phone to make calls with.
It is not a secret that sales of Android devices across a number of brands now rival that of Apple with their line of sleek, small iPhones and tablets in the form of the iPad and iPad mini. How long before “phablets” start to trounce the total iPhone sales as consumers reach for size?
This is a market that Apple continues to ignore. It is making great strides in the full sized tablet market and now with the 7.9-inch tablet too, but in the large sized phone market they have nothing to offer.
The Galaxy Note from Samsung, with its large 5.3-inch HD display shocked many people who did not quite know what to make of it. But consumers quickly got used to the large screen and bought the phone in droves. Ten million units sold later, other manufacturers like HTC and Sony could no longer ignore what was happening. Except Apple who maintain that Apple customers only want a smaller sized phone that they can easily hold and operate in one hand.
With the Galaxy Note 2 offering quad-core speeds and double the memory capacity, five million units sold in just three months in the latter part of 2012. Both versions of the Note came with a stylus called an S Pen which could be used to scribble down notes quickly before running for a train or while on a call. Specialised apps were provided that create split screen features, using the large screen size to perfection, so one could view an email while checking out a map at the same time. This made the iPhone just seemed quaint, old fashioned and out dated by comparison.
Emerging Market Compromise
News is emerging that Apple might be developing a cut-down economy version of the iPhone for the developing nations. The thinking behind this is that people living in developing nations are too poor to afford an iPhone and Apple is missing out on revenue by only offering a premium priced iPhone. This seems to be missing the point.
Consumers in Asia, for instance, are often looking for more features. With a larger screen, people can get more done quicker, web sites become easier to navigate, read & consume, and more tasks on a task list can be seen at one time and their priority rearranged. What consumers want is the ability to get more done with work days that can stretch out for 12 hours or more. Asia in particular is a continent that is swarming with people, putting space at a premium. Under such circumstances, carrying a small phone (for app tasks) and a tablet (for web browsing and more serious business tasks) becomes impractical. More people own push bikes or small motorbikes in Asia than own cars, so one device that can be pocketed is very practical too.
Apple Is Looking At Things Completely Wrong
People living in the emerging markets will often splurge for a more expensive device if it can perform many functions. With smartphones now reaching 6.1-inch displays with the latest Ascend Mate phone from Huawei and regular smartphones coming in at 4.8-inches, Android phones which are outselling Apple’s iPhone, now continue to grow in size and consumers are buying the trend. A cut down iPhone is the wrong idea, Apple; try a “phablet” to compete with the Note 2 instead.