The age of the phablet has arrived
More than 208 million phablets - a hybrid device larger than a smartphone but smaller than a tablet - are expected to ship globally in 2015, increasing by a factor of 10 in 2012 from 2011.
According to senior ABI Research analyst Joshua Flood, the market is currently "at the dawn" of a new phablet era.
Indeed, industry heavyweights like HTC, LG, and Huawei are each slated to introduce phablet smartphones in 2012, joining the ranks of Samsung's Galaxy Note, Nexus and Galaxy S3.
"One of the chief drivers for phablets is the amount of time people use their smartphones for web browsing, reading articles and newspapers on the go, or simply navigating their journeys," explained Flood.
"The larger screen sizes make a significant difference to the user's experience when compared to conventional-sized touchscreens between 3.5 to 4 inches."
Flood added that new phablet-styled devices provide an attractive two-in-one device proposition - and are already beginning to compete with smaller media tablets (less than seven inches).
Note: ABI Research defines phablets as featuring a touch screen size between 4.6-5.5 inches.