Over the past few decades, mobile devices have evolved considerably. We have seen them in all shapes and sizes – from compact feature phones to bulky handsets. Years ago, tablets gained popularity by bridging the gap between laptops and smartphones, offering easier portability and less bulkiness than conventional portable computers.
And then came the revolutionary phablet – a hybrid between a phone and tablet – with an even smaller screen size, adding another layer of convenience for people who want to stay connected on the go. While there were a few skeptics initially due to a size perceived to be a bit large for a smartphone and small for a tablet, the device soared in popularity and is widely used across the world by all generations.
According to a forecast by the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide shipments of phablets is expected to surpass that of tablets in 2015. Phablet shipments are estimated to be around 318 milllion units, compared to 233 million for tablets.
A new experience
Samsung was the first to introduce the phablet concept in the market, with the launch of Galaxy Note in 2011. The smaller screen and palm-friendly size made it a convenient portable device. It also featured a pen stylus, known as the S Pen, with a handwriting feature in addition to making selection and certain other functions easier.
Over the years, Samsung has been rolling out new and improved devices within the Note phablet series. Galaxy Note debuted with 5.3-inch Super AMOLED screen with an 8MP camera and Android Gingerbread version.
Galaxy Note II brought about a larger screen (5.5 inches) and a faster processor (1.6 GHz) than its predecessor (1.4GHz), featuring Android Jelly Bean. Its successor – the Galaxy Note 3 – came with a whopping 13MP camera and an even faster processor at 2.3GHz. By the end of 2013, Galaxy Note, Note II and Note 3 had sold more than 10 million units.
The Galaxy Note 4, which was launched last year, marked a major milestone in the Note series' history by introducing the Note edge, which featured a curved edge on one side of the device for interactive functions. It was the first time any smartphone and phablet came with a curved edge. The device also introduced a strong 16MP camera for brighter and clearer images, with a relatively sharp 3.7MP front-facing camera for high quality selfies.
As the phablet concept evolves and consumer demand increases, we can hope to see more cutting-edge and improved devices in the years to come.