Is the Galaxy S4 a Phablet or Just a Smartphone?

by Istvan Fekete on March 18, 2013

A couple years back, Mark Zuckerberg was asked about Facebook for iPad, but the young billionaire brushed off the question saying, “iPad is not mobile; it’s a computer — it’s a different thing”. That was three years ago.

Since then, Facebook has seen a spike in users going mobile, driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones, and they also had to answer to mobile monetization. But the debate as to whether or not tablets were mobile devices went on.

With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the debate seems to have reached an end: The handset sports a huge, 5-inch AMOLED display with an insanely high resolution of 441 ppi. As a comparison, the Galaxy Note II — which is considered a “phablet” (both a phone and a tablet) — features a 5.5-inch display.

Analysts expect the Galaxy S4 to sell well, as the Galaxy S line always sells — it bypassed the 100-million-unit milestone in January – so, we are likely to see many people carrying around a phone that could act as a tablet, which needs to be sized accordingly. (It seems like the fashion industry will have to consider this trend when designing the pockets as well.)

Fact is, smartphones are getting bigger: Apple has increased the iPhone’s display size to 4 inches from 3.5 inches, while Samsung has increased the size of the Galaxy S line from 4.8 inches to 5 inches (S4) and 5.5 inches (Note II). Tablets, on the other hand, seem to be getting smaller: Apple introduced the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which is currently a hot product, while Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 8, a tablet with phone features.

Three years since the launch of the iPad, which defined the tablet industry, tablets account for a third of all PC sales. And given their portability, users tend to use them outside their homes as well.

Mobile devices are becoming the primary computing devices now, and they now have the power to perform many of the tasks people previously used their PCs for (see e-commerce shopping sessions). Another study points out that phone calls are only the fifth-most popular feature of smartphones, falling behind Web browsing, social media, playing music, and games.

With the launch of the 5-inch smartphone, Samsung aims to blur the border between the phone and the tablet. And because consumer demand seems to point toward multitasking devices, it will have its share of success. But yet again, it needs to be backed by powerful apps as are the iPhone and iPad.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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