London - Global factory-level
shipments of phablets, the cellular device that is larger than a smartphone but
smaller than a tablet, will increase 10-fold in 2012 to 19.2 million compared
with 2011, ABI Research said.
In 2015, global phablet shipments
will hit 208 million.
In North America, phablet sales
were non-existent in 2011 but will jump to 4.4 million in 2012 and rise to 55.5
million in 2016, the research and consulting company said.
ABI defines phablets as having a
touchscreen between 4.6 to 5.5 inches in size.
A chief driver for phablet sales
"is the amount of time people use their smartphones for web browsing, reading
articles and newspapers on the go, or simply navigating their journeys," said
senior analyst Joshua Flood. "The larger screen sizes make a significant
difference to the user's experience when compared to conventional-sized
touchscreens between 3.5 to 4 inches."
In addition, he said phablets provide
an "attractive two-in-one device proposition," and he sees competition emerging
between the larger smartphone form factors and smaller media tablets, whose
screens are less than 7 inches.
The phablet market got off to a
slow start, ABI said, but HTC, LG and Huawei will introduce phablet smartphones
in 2012, joining Samsung's Galaxy Note and Nexus and the just-announced Samsung