Samsung's Mega takes smartphone screen size to 6.3 inches
I'm ashamed to say that 'phablet' - the awful portmanteau word I was apparently the first to coin - is now mainstream (sorry about that, but blame Dan Warren of the GSMA who was the originator).
In fact the word was going to emerge anyway as were the devices which it describes - just because both are obvious.
A phablet is the concept of a hybrid - half phone, half tablet - and Samsung's Mega, just shown off by the Korean giant, is the current daddy. Or rather the 6.3 inch screen version of the Mega is (there is also a 5.8 inch version).
So what, I hear you asking, is the difference between 6-7 inch tablet and a 6-7 inch phablet?
The shape. The Mega, for instance, is still dimensioned like a phone, designed to be carried around like a phone (a largish jacket pocket will still accommodate it), and can be held with one hand and used like a telephone (ie you clamp it to the side of your head when talking and it has the necessary mic/speaker combination). You presumably just have to have a fairly large hand to do it.
Like a tablet it can make use of a split screen, so users can flip between apps as they pop up and demand to be used. It has 8 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.9 megapixel front-facing one and it runs on Android Jelly Bean.
When the first large phablet-style smartphones came out (they were only 4 - 5 inch examples) I noticed that most of the reservations expressed by reviewers or potential users was really around what they would look like when used as a phone. Would people laugh and point? Would it appear 'cool'? Maybe it would look too nerdy to have something so 'over-sized'?
That's probably still the case for many potential users, but it also makes sense that as the phones have got larger, so the public on average has just become used to seeing them and so less worried about being the first on the block to use one.
The bigger screen's apparent popularity is also probably a reflection of smartphones being used more for video and rich content.
Can the phablet get any larger ? Of course it can. I'm betting on 7 inches before year's end.