As smartphones have evolved, they are increasingly packing in features and hardware that would have done a laptop, or more, proud, a decade ago. That brings us to the obvious question, just when is a smartphone no longer a smartphone? As you would expect, when it came to the crunch, the only way to truly mark out a smartphone from a phablet, or even the in-between cousin, a phablet, is screen size.
Let’s pick on the Phablet first, that unfortunately termed combination of the smartphone and the tablet. Phablets are a consequence of the first burst of love for larger screens when 4 inches was becoming the industry standard in the first wave of top android smartphones.
We fear, with screen sizes of ‘smartphones’ increasingly being accepted at sizes up to 6 inches, the Phablet, which was supposed to rule in the screen category of 5 to 8 inches, are set to see a shrinking of their territory. Samsung’s Note series is probably one of the most famous phablets around, though we believe even the manufacturer is no longer keen on calling them Phablets.
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Tablets, on the other hand, were heralded as the replacement for laptops, something they have thankfully not yet achieved.
This, even as the laptop has survived the advent of tablets sized 8-inch screens and above, tablets have managed to carve out their own space thanks to some nifty features, like a screen that your neighbor can also see without squinting, touch displays, and of course, high-class hardware. Some notable examples of tablets would be the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom and more.
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Beyond screen sizes, these three gizmos have some pretty interesting features to call their own or almost their own. Thus, you are far more likely to see a stylus in a phablet, and sometimes a tablet, than on a smartphone. With its larger screen, this is clearly their way of being one up on the smartphone when it comes to scribbling on the screen itself.
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Phablets again, along with Tablets usually pack in more by way of ‘office ‘software, by which we mean stuff that will help you survive office, be it presentation making abilities, worksheet software and more. Combined with the larger screen and stylus, these two gadgets ensure that you don’t end up getting frustrated with ‘fat finger’ errors as you might, on the smaller smartphone.
Of course, as you would expect, when it comes to weight and thickness, the size of the screens pretty much dictates the sequence for all three here.
Trends in the future
So what do the trends indicate in the future for these three? Clearly, smartphones are set to rule, while expanding to the phablet territory with a maximum screen size of up to 6 inches or around. While phablets might find themselves relegated more towards business and educational uses and applications.
Much like smartphones and phablets, Tablets and laptops look set to form an overlapping category of users, with the resilient laptop looking set to survive on the back of overall automation, while the Tablet expands through a younger audience.
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What is clear is that nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to these three, as a disruptive breakthrough in any of the categories remains a possibility to upend all predictions. The only safe prediction? The desktop will continue its slow and inevitable decline, to be wiped out almost completely by a smart tablet or even the laptop eventually.