This is not immediately relevant to our market segment, but it will become so over time. This has the potential to displace laptops and small smartphones. The economies of scale will kick in, and prices will come down. And a key element in the Internet eco system will be put in place.
According to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, worldwide phablet shipments (smartphones with screen sizes from 5.5 to less than 7 inches) will reach 175 million units worldwide in 2014, passing the 170 million portable PCs expected to ship during the same period. Next year, total phablet volumes will top 318 million units, surpassing the 233 million tablets forecast to ship in 2015.
While phablets are a relatively new category of device, first picking up volume in 2012, the pressure that the category has placed on the tablet market has already been clearly observed as the growth of smaller, 7 inch tablets has begun to slow. IDC expects more consumers to shift back toward larger-sized tablets with their next purchase. However, that trend hasn’t made up for the decreased shipments of smaller sizes, which has resulted in lower overall expectations for the tablet market in 2014 and beyond.