Phablet shipments will soon surpass PCs, tablets: IDC

­Research firm IDC Corp. is predicting a fabulous future for phablets.

A phablet is defined as a smartphone with screen sizes between 5.5” and 7” – a level in between a traditional smartphone and a traditional tablet that attempts to merge the two form factors.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, worldwide phablet shipments will reach 175 million in 2014. That’s five million more than the number of tablets expected to ship this year. IDC is forecasting 318 million phablet shipments in 2015, topping the 233 million tablets expected to ship in the same period.

According to IDC, the emerging phablet market has tapered the growth of the smaller-sized tablet market as purchasers looking for a smaller device opt to combine the device with a smartphone instead of carrying two devices. While strength is still being seen in the larger tablet market, it won’t be enough to compensate for the decline of the small tablet market.

“With Apple expected to join the space in the coming weeks, we anticipate even more attention on phablets as larger screen smartphones become the new norm,” said Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in a statement.


Phablets are also increasing their share of the global smartphone market. IDC expects phablets to account for 14 per cent of the worldwide smartphone market in 2014, riding to 32.2 per cent by 2015. Today, smartphones represent about 70 per cent of the smart connected device market, which also includes tablets, phablets, laptop and desktop PCs.

“Clearly, mobile computing is a space where consumers are still trying to figure out what mix of devices and screen sizes will suit them best,” said Tom Mainelli, program vice-president with IDC’s Devices and Displays. “What works well today could very well shift tomorrow as phones gain larger screens, tablets become more powerful replacements for PCs, and even smart watch screens join the fray.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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