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Larger-screen smartphones continue to dial up the pressure on the mobile industry. Commonly referred to as phablets, smartphones with 4.6 to 6.5-inch screens are set to experience strong growth over the next few years.
More than 80 million phablets were shipped in 2012, according to ABI Research. While this number is impressive, it is expected to grow to 385 million by 2017.
As the chart below shows, every region is forecast to see large gains. Asia Pacific is expected to increase from 35.1 million to 203.7 million shipments, while North America expands from 18.8 million to 87.0 million shipments.
Although the first phablet was Dell’s (NASDAQ:DELL) Android-based (NASDAQ:GOOG) Streak in 2010, Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) Galaxy Note placed the category on consumer radars by selling over 10 million units in its first year.
Statista explains, “When Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note in 2011, it was a bold move for the Korean electronics giant. With its 5.3-inch display, the smartphone was much bigger than Samsung’s flagship model, the 4.3-inch Galaxy SII, and the included stylus appeared like a relic from the pre-touchscreen era. Industry experts and tech journalists were largely skeptical whether the Note could find an audience. The device seemed too big to be used one-handedly, let alone to fit in a pants pocket. Against all odds, the Galaxy Note became a success.”
Speculation continues to grow about Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) building a larger-screen smartphone, but nothing has been confirmed. The company’s 4-inch iPhone 5 still remains its biggest smartphone offering.
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