Are 'Phablets' Like Samsung's Galaxy Note a Passing Fad?

Recent data released by Flurry Analytics reveals there are now around 1 billion smartphones and tablets in use around the world every month, and as the device base grows, so too does the diversity of screen sizes. That's largely thanks to Android, the most prolific mobile platform on the planet. With so many screen sizes to choose from, which are the most popular?

By far the most dominant segment belongs to "medium phones," which are those that wield screens measuring anywhere from 3.5 inches to 4.9 inches. These account for 69 percent of all device models, and 72 percent of all active users, according to Flurry's data.

Galaxy Note 2

In comparison, so-called phablets (devices with 5-inch to 6.9-inch displays) such as Samsung's Galaxy Note line account for just 2 percent of all device models and 3 percent of all active users. It's the least popular category among the bunch (other categories include small phones, small tablets, and full-size tablets), leading Flurry to refer to phablets as a fad.

"This 'Is it a phone or is it a tablet' devices otherwise known as phablets have attracted interest, but currently command a relatively small share of the device installed base, and their share of active users and sessions is also relatively small," Flurry notes.

The research firm went to say that phablets comprise an "insignificant" portion of the total install base "and do not show disproportionately high enough app usage to justify support." That sounds like an overly harsh statement, and one could argue that phablets would see a surge if more manufacturers offered them. As it stands, Samsung is the primary player in the phablet category, though it will soon see competition from LG.