The story of phablets | Mr Nutcase

The story of phablets


There’s no doubt about it. Phones are getting bigger all the time. Some of the phones on the market today, often referred to as phablets because they are a cross between a phone and a tablet, are actually the same height as those brick phones rich banker types carried around so ostentatiously in the early 1980s.

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The original brick

The 1983 original brick phone was by Motorola, weighed more than 2lbs and cost an eye-watering $3,995, a huge amount for a phone by today’s standards, let alone back then. Fortunately, the cost of mobiles has come down substantially, as has their weight. But has their size? Well, no, not really. The first Motorola was 13 inches high, which is comparable to many of the phablets on the market today. So how has this come about? We all know that phones were much smaller only a few years ago. By 2000 Motorola had a phone that was only 3.42 inches high and a few years later in 2006 Pantech brought out the C300, which was more than half an inch smaller at 2.72 inches. It could not go on, of course, and fairly soon after that mobiles began to grow again. Blackberry brought out the first Smartphone and the idea that phones could be used for more than just phone calls and texting was born. Cameras made them a little larger and heavier and, once connecting to the internet on your phone became the norm, there was no going back to those tiny sizes again. Screens had to be larger so it was possible to open, read and write emails, something that was impossible to do on a frustratingly small screen. In the last few years the demand has been for even larger screens as people choose to use their phones for watching films, videos on YouTube, reading news articles and catching up on programmes they might have missed on their (super-sized) television screens. Obviously doing all this on a smaller screen just is not possible.

And so the phablet was born

The concept of the phablet was first seen in 2007 with the HTC advantage. The most recent to date is the Nokia Lumia with a screen of six inches. They are really mobile phones which do as much as tablets. Not many of us have pockets big enough to carry them although there is a market now for appropriately large personalised phone cases. Is it likely that the rise of the phablet will continue and that they will soon be almost as big as tablets? Will we continue to demand ever-larger screens? While in some respects it is convenient to have a device that does absolutely everything, the key problem is where to keep it. The beauty of the smaller phone was that it would fit in one of your pockets if you’re a man or, if you’re female, into a side pocket of a handbag. Phablets just don't fit into the same places. If they continue to grow in size they will need their own large phone cases which might not be that convenient if you make a phone call. Can the ideal phablet ever exist? Large enough to watch movies but small enough to fit in your pocket? Only time will tell.

Categories: Gadgets

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