Phone makers are apparently hoping to cash in on a Samsungian niche of “phablets.” That area between phone and tablet. Samsung, of course, got the ball rolling with the Galaxy Note.

I actually figured that the Note would be a failure. They seem to have moved away from the full tablet sized version, but it’s apparently become quite popular. Which is one of the reasons why it’s so important that the iPhone is no longer sucking all of the oxygen out of the room. They might actually release one of these things someday, but like the iPad Mini, only if someone else demonstrated a market for them.

Now, my animosity towards the iPhone has almost dissipated. I have what I want, and Apple controls a relatively small minority of the market. The only dangling issue are the lawsuits, but even a billion dollar verdict can’t stop Android’s momentum. This isn’t an entirely good thing, because I worry about Microsoft Windows Phone’s continued participation in the market and I’d prefer at least three options. The last outstanding concern I’ve had is “what happens if/when Google decides it’s simply not making money off of these things?”

Most likely, either the handset makers enter into some sort of Symbian-like consortium, or the code gets turned over to Apache or a like organization. Long-term, it could get overtaken by someone else when someone figures out the next Big Leap like Apple did.

There was a brief window where I wasn’t positive that this was going to be the case. Some of my apprehension towards the iPhone was based on an underlying fear that they would actually accomplish their goal of conforming the consumers to their own designs. And this horrified me not just because their design did not match my preference, but because I was concerned that something like the phablet wouldn’t actually come to fruition. Or good smartphones with physical keyboards or even slightly larger screens.

On the other hand, I am a bit glad that Apple is the way it is. Otherwise, they’d be fewer gaps for Samsung to have exploited. If Apple had been just flexible enough to keep more people in their ecosphere, then I’d really be screwed.


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2 Responses to The Joys of Fragmentation

  1. David Alexander says:

    They seem to have moved away from the full tablet sized version, but it’s apparently become quite popular. Which is one of the reasons why it’s so important that the iPhone is no longer sucking all of the oxygen out of the room.

    I suspect that they’re somewhat popular with people looking for a product that’s a bit bigger than your average phone, but smaller than a tablet with actual phone functionality included. Of course, it helps to produce in the market given that Apple hasn’t bothered to enter that space, and so far there have been few rumours indicating any interest by Apple in this area. Personally, I really can’t see myself with a phone that big since it’s unlikely to fit in my pocket. Oddly, it’s the type of product that could work well for women since they’re more likely to have purses to hold the phone, but is less likely to do the larger form factor being problematic for women with smaller hands.

  2. trumwill says:

    I suspect that they’re somewhat popular with people looking for a product that’s a bit bigger than your average phone, but smaller than a tablet with actual phone functionality included.

    Yeah, that’s basically the niche. Turns out it’s a larger niche than I would have guessed.

    and so far there have been few rumours indicating any interest by Apple in this area.

    Yeah. Indications are that Apple’s interest here will be response-driven rather than anything they actually want to do. Like the iPad Mini.

    Personally, I really can’t see myself with a phone that big since it’s unlikely to fit in my pocket.

    I can actually fit a 7″ tablet in my pocket. It’s not remarkably comfortable. Anyway, this is perfect for me because I wouldn’t be putting it in my pocket to begin with. (Holsters rule!)

    I’m getting increasingly frustrated with my phone’s hardware limitations and may be upgrading relatively soon. I’ve got the Note on my radar. Next time I’m at Walmart, I’ll have to hold one and see how it feels. And ponder the matter.

    The two big downsides are (a) no physical keyboard and (b) I’m not sure 5.5″ is big enough to be able to do the things that make tablets more useful than phones. Also, (c) though I’m getting better at Swype, I’m not sure how well it would work with such a big device.

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