Shipments of 'phablets' are forecast to reach 60.4m units in 2013, according to IHS iSuppli's Mobile Handset Displays report. That number is up 136 per cent from 25.6m last year, with shipments predicted to hit 146m by 2016.
According to IHS, this growth will be partially driven by technological advances, as expansion in capacity related to low-temperature polysilicon LCD screens reduce the price of large high-resolution displays, as well as the evolution of the increasingly saturated smartphone market.
“The move to offer larger-display smartphones reflects the efforts of both device and panel makers to differentiate their products,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, director of small and medium displays at IHS iSuppli. “With consumers demanding more lifelike viewing experiences, the trend to offer such devices makes perfect sense, especially considering the increase in rich content that is being made available on smartphones.”
The lines between smartphone, phablet and just plain tablet are becoming increasingly blurred. Huawei unveiled the largest smartphone the world has yet seen at the CES, in the form of the 6.1” Ascend Mate, and rumours are currently circulating that Samsung will unveil the latest in its Galaxy Note line – the single most successful range of phablet devices – at MWC, in the form of an 8" tablet, the Galaxy Note 8.0.