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Will six-inch phablets kill seven-inch tablets?

Industry experts are divided over the different segments

Gulf News

Dubai: With Sony launching the 6.4-inch phablet (tablet/smartphone combo), there is a big debate whether the bigger screen size will kill the seven-inch tablet.

Samsung was the first to launch a phablet – Galaxy Note – above five inches. Now the screen sizes have gone bigger to more than six inches.

Samsung’s Mega has 6.3-inch display while Huawei’s Ascend Mate has 6.1-inch and Sony Z Ultra has 6.4-inches.

Seven and eight inch displays are driving the growth in the tablet market right now and there are seven-inch tablets with cellular functions also.

“Phablet is a great idea, especially in emerging markets, for people who cannot afford a smartphone and a tablet. It is still a niche product for mature markets,” Annette Zimmermann, principal analyst at Gartner Deutschland GmbH, told Gulf News.

“It all depends on the budget. The phablets which are under $300 will see a growth while high-end phablets will see growth mainly in mature markets,” she said.

But according to Izzat Kittaneh, business director – Middle East and Africa, Sony Mobile Communications, the seven-inch tablet sales will diminish with the launch of phablets.

“When we saw the 6.4-inch Z ultra, we were hesitated about the size and whether this model will work or not. In China and Asia -Pacific the bigger screen sizes are gaining traction. These devices are appreciated by both males and females,” Kittaneh said.

“It is not Sony that started the phablet trend, it is our competitors and they have registered brisk business. I am sure, despite the huge size, the specs and the features are the keys for success,” he said.

According to Fouad R. Charakla, research manager at International Research Corporation (IDC), the seven-inch tablets will stay in the market as they are low priced. Majority of users buy the seven-inch low-cost tablets, but only a few buy the high-end seven inch tablets.

He said only the high-end tablet users may shift to bigger phablets. There can be an impact if prices of bigger-sized phablets come down to seven-inch tablet levels.

“The two types of devices cater to two very different segments. Smartphones with big screen-sizes are priced around two to three times higher than most seven inch tablets. Due to these reasons seven-inch tablets will prevail in the market,” he said.