Early smartphones had a full keypad, and a small screen. While they provided tethering capabilities and internet access on the go, they lacked many of the user friendly features we are accustomed to today. Then came the iPhone, with a touch screen and a user friendly app database that made it operate more like a computer, and less like a traditional phone, and a raging desire to do and have more from a pocket-sized device was born.
With the creation of the touch screen smartphone it became increasingly apparent that the only real difference between a tablet PC and a smartphone was size. Now, with smartphones sporting vary large screens, and tablets working to become more compact, a new generation of portable technology is born: The phablet.
The phablet, a nickname given to smartphone-like devices, with screens that are more than 5 inches across, is the new do-it-all device. It can be used to make calls, but has a large enough screen to make surfing the internet or viewing documents, ereader files, or videos comfortable. These devices are gaining popularity because they do more, cost less, and still fit conveniently in a back pocket.
Despite the convenience and cost saving advantages the smartphone tablet hybrid have to offer, some people resist the trend that is trying to blend the two distinct technologies into a single device. The greatest complaint that users of the phablet seem to have is that it is too bulky for comfortably making phone calls Similarly, there are those who prefer tablet PC technology, and are unwilling to move down to a phablet hybrid product. These people rely heavily on their tablet, using it in place of a PC, and shrinking the screen that considerably would likely have a negative impact on their computing behaviors, because of the restricted screen size.
For a device to qualify as a phablet, it must have a screen over 5 inches, but under 8. The challenge, for designers, is to develop a screen design that is wide enough to improve browsing on the device when compared to a standard cell-phone, without getting large enough to be deemed a mini-tablet rather than a hybrid.