Funny Phablets

Phablets are a very funny product category. Nobody, at least in the west, seems to quite understand what they are.

I don’t either. I’m just observing that the information that we have is difficult to understand, and the common theories aren’t logically consistent.

Here is an example of a bullish prediction for phablets.

“Are Phablets Signaling a Butterfly Effect for Mobile Devices?”

While I have a large issue with how “butterfly effect” is being used in this article, that is beside the point. The point of the article is to illustrate how phablets might lead to significant changes in the mobile space.

In this article, the benefits of a larger screen are given as follows;

  1. “Bigger screens are becoming essential for browsing. They make it a lot more attractive – you can fit more information into a single screen.”
  2. “Email gets easier on a big screen too.”

Now compare this with a report by Opera Mediaworks “Phablets are no passing phad”.

What they find in terms of phablet usage is;

  1. Social networking is by far the top category (53.8% of total impressions served), far outpacing social site usage from phones and tablets.
  2. Phablet users are far less likely to use News & Information sites than phone users and fall well short of tablet users in their interest in Gaming, and Music, Video & Media.

So it seems that phablet users are less prone to browsing the web, and are more inclined to use their device for social networking.

What kind of social networking?

We can’t be sure, but if it is a lot of WhatsApp, then we can be sure that large screens aren’t making too much of a different. The same can be said for Twitter.

This doesn’t match the phablet benefits given above.

My feeling is that nobody really seems to know what the real appeal of Phablets are on purchase and how they are actually being used. Much less whether their success will be confined to Asia or whether they will penetrate other markets.