When Phablets Are The New Normal

It’s hard to believe, but the original iPhone sported a 3.5″ display when it launched. At that time it was far and away the largest screen ever put on a phone. Today that’s very small, even by Apple standards as the iPhone 5 screen grew to 4″. But Apple is still far behind as screen sizes on Android phones have ballooned. The ultimate in crazy was when Samsung released the first Galaxy Note phone which was an astonishing 5.3″. At that size, people wondered if it was even a phone anymore but more of a tablet. Tablets don’t have calling features, however. So a new word was invented, the Phablet. Somewhere between a phone and  a tablet. I thought the Galaxy Note was ridiculous and impossibly big for a phone. Who would want to carry around such a monstrosity, let alone hold one up to your ear? But then something remarkable happened, the Note became popular. People started buying them and Samsung made a Note 2 at 5.5″ and then a Note 3 at 5.7″. Women especially like the Note because when you’re putting your phone in a purse instead of a pocket, the large size doesn’t seem as crazy. My wife has a Note 2 and she loves it. She specifically loves it because of its large size. With the Note, she doesn’t always have to carry around her full iPad. A Phablet suits her well.

Still, the Note was an outlier as most Android phones were 4.7″ in size. That’s plenty big and considerably bigger than an iPhone. Then, last year, new Android phones came out at 5″ and now, just this month, the two newest Android phones to be released have 5.5″ screens. We have arrived; the Phablet is the new normal. All of a sudden, 5.5″ isn’t an outlier anymore. It remains to be seen what wearable computers will do to this equation. Will the phone capability jump to your wearable and what we carry is a 5.5″ or 6″ mini tablet? In the short term, I also wonder if, like the iPhone has squeezed out the iPod, will the Phablet squeeze out the tablet? Certainly the smaller 7″ tablets could be in danger.

Right now I use a Motorola Moto X phone which is 4.7″. While I like it a lot, but I will admit to you that I am severely tempted by the new One Plus One phone which is 5.5″. It’s thin and sleek and beautiful. Maybe I have been around Lisa’s Note 2 long enough that it doesn’t seem so massive anymore. It kind of looks…….normal.