A column at Barron's yesterday
discusses a new report by Barclays' Asia-based mobile technology analysts which says that phablets are sweeping the globe and will be the biggest area of growth in the coming years. The report predicts 70% compounded annual growth, which would mean an increase from 84 million "phablets" sold last year to 402 million in 2015.
From the column:
The early winner in the phablet wars is Samsung Electronics (005930KS), the authors write. Samsung’s “Galaxy Note,” which is on its second iteration, is perhaps synonymous with the term in many people’s minds, as reports this morning indicated the device may be on track to sell 10 million units by the end of this quarter ...
... the key in the coming battle will be the display technology, given that it greatly affects battery life ...
Among the outcomes of such a battle are “more bad news for the PC/Win8 industry,” perhaps, as “The growth of phablets represents a potential increase of cannibalization of other data-consumption devices, especially NB PCs, in our view.”
The other impact is that Apple will have to offer a larger screen on future iPhones than the 4-inch display on the iPhone 5, perhaps in 2014.
Until then, Samsung will dominate the phablet market ...
It should be noted that this particular report considers phablets to include any screen size from 4" to 8" which is broader than the definition usually used (4.5-5.5").
While Samsung and Apple will likely be the two dominant phablet makers in the future, I would think that both Google and Amazon will have a strong presence in this market as well. At any rate, it's where the future is at. Samsung's new S4 reportedly will have a 5" amoled screen. And some are predicting the iPhone's move to yet another larger screen size as soon as this year.