The IDC’s worldwide tablet report says the shift towards phablets (even Oxford Dictionary has jumped on the bandwagon) has definitely had an adverse impact on the tablet market, especially in the smaller form factor segment. These tablets which generally range between 7 and 8 inches in dispay size, are the worst affected by the shift towards smartphones with excessively large displays. We are talking about the likes of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, LG Optimus G Pro, the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 and Huawei Ascend Mate. All of these veer dangerously close to tablet territory and are expectedly affecting that market.
With the new iPads arriving in India this weekend, this news has come at a bad time for Apple. The most affected will be the new iPad mini, which has a much higher resolution display than the last-gen model and a brand new processor as well. Some damage was already done by the incredulous hike in price of the older iPads. But the most hurt could be caused by the invasion of phablets in India. It’s not just the big brands mentioned above. The likes of Micromax, Xolo, Karbonn all have their own versions of phablets and new ones are coming every month.
Will the new iPad mini suffer at the hands of phablets?
It’s easy to understand the attraction for phablets. Though their ‘pocketability’ is questionable at best, that is offset by the large display, the typically massive battery and of course the fact that it can still make phone calls. While a lot of Android tablets do offer voice-calling, they are a lot more cumbersome to be used as a primary phone.
Another factor that’s working in favour of phablets is that they are essentially phones and as such there’s no need for a customised tablet app experience. The biggest criticism for Android in the tablet space is the lack of optimised apps. Here, the iPad wins hands down and the presence of tablet-specific apps is easily a selling point for the Apple tablet. With a phablet, though, the stretched-out apps don’t look bad at all. Weirdly enough the large (yet smaller in relation to a tablet) display makes the app shine, despite it not being a designed-for-tablet app.
Phablets have become more popular than ever in India, according to an IDC report from earlier this year. As we reported then, the rise of Micromax in recent quarters is largely down to the phablets in their Canvas range, which has catapulted the company into second spot in the Indian smartphone market. The 5-inch to 6.9-inch phablet category has grown almost 17 times year over year, with the category accounting for 30 percent of the smartphone market in Q2 2013. That's the market the new iPad mini is entering and it sure looks like a tough crowd to get along with.