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What Is a Phablet?

The Phablet Trend

If you have an internet connection, you already know that mobile devices are the red-hot royalty of modern technology. Pocket-sized smartphones and slim tablets are everywhere, offering on-the-go mobility and convenient touch-screen technology that is slowly replacing everything from books to laptop computers. So what's next on the mobile device forefront?

According to Reuters, the hot new thing is already here and steadily gaining traction: the phablet. Major manufacturers from Nokia to Samsung have jumped on board this new mobile trend, and users are clamoring for the convenience it offers. Distinguishing Characteristics So what is a phablet, and is it really as fabulous as the industry experts claim? The name comes from a hybrid of the words "phone" and "tablet", and that's exactly what it is. Phablets are devices that include functions from both classes of devices, including:

  • Online browsers
  • Video streaming programs
  • Ability to place phone calls
  • Ability to conduct live video chats
  • Word processing software
  • Fast processors
  • Split-screen views
  • Fast processors
  • Touchscreen displays
  • E-book browsers
  • Multi-tasking

These features combine the most popular and user-friendly perks of both smartphones and tablets, offering a happy medium that isn't restricted by a tiny screen or a slow processor. You can run multiple programs at the same time, often on the very same screen, and place calls on the very same device that you use to read your books and take your vacation snapshots.

Phablets truly were made for multi-taskers, and they conveniently cut down on clutter as well. By simplifying the mobile experience into one capable device, phablets eliminate the need for multiple chargers, cords, protective skins, and cases.

Screen Sizes

Until Steve Jobs debuted the iPad in 2010, there was a very clear trend in mobile technology: the smaller, the better. Movies and shows from the 1990's offer hilarious reminders of smartphones' big, bulky ancestors. Giant car phone handsets eventually made way for wireless versions that worked outside the car, too, but the first cell phones were huge in comparison to today's creations.

Flip phones changed all of that, introducing a slimmer and more portable option that led to smaller and smaller devices, as technology companies scrambled to prove how much technology they could fit into tiny devices. Screen size enlargements took off in 2011, as touchscreen interfaces improved and production costs fell. Actual screen dimensions of modern phablets increased rapidly, in recent years:

  • 5" in 2012 (with an unusual 4:3 aspect ratio)
  • 5.3" in 2011 (then-fastest processor)
  • 5.55" in 2012 (plus split-screen debut)
  • 6" in 2013 (multiple devices)
  • 7" in 2014 (slim with full HD screens)

How Do You Use It?

If you travel frequently, take and edit pictures on-the-go, and have a lot of long-distance connections to maintain, a phablet is a wise investment in your future. Instead of lugging around a tablet and a smartphone, you get the best of both worlds for half the price tag and considerably less bulk. Depending on your device's processing speeds and software capabilities, you might even be able to leave your computer at home altogether on your next business trip. Wireless keyboards and mice make it easy to complete projects on a handheld device, and the combined functionalities mean you won't have to sacrifice quality or time for the sake of convenience.

If you're in the market for a new phone, or just considering adding a tablet to your trove of technological helpers, take a look at some of the phablets currently in production.