Release of 'phablet' only a matter of time
Tablet computers and smartphones are currently two of the hottest technologies around. However, the separation between the two devices may one day begin to fade, forming what the San Francisco Chronicle's David Einstein calls the "phablet."
Writing for the Chronicle's business page, Einstein notes that it is not economically viable to combine the two technologies at the moment, as manufacturers are currently benefiting greatly from the success of each device. Combining a tablet with a smartphone would risk cannibalizing the sales of both.
There is also a "cool factor" that must be considered, Einstein states. Given that most tablet computers feature screens of 7 to 10 inches, few users are going to be enthusiastic about holding such a bulky device to their ear.
Einstein does note that as more tablets capable of connecting to wireless networks are introduced, it may only be a matter of time before a manufacturer "bites the bullet" and launches a truly successful phablet.
A handful of tablet-smartphone hybrids are already available, though none has generated much excitement. Research firm IDC estimates that smartphone shipments will reach 660 million in 2012, while tablet sales are expected to surpass 100 million units. Given the success of the individual devices, the first true phablet may still be years away.