More than 20 million phablets shipped in 2013

by: Shawn IngramJanuary 21, 2014


Turns out phablets are just as popular as we thought, and now there’s some data to prove it.

A recent report from Juniper research estimates that more than 20 million phablets shipped in the year 2013. The number isn’t at all surprising given that Samsung was able to ship more than 5 million units of the Galaxy Note 3 in just one week last year. Perhaps the overall phablet numbers would be higher if Samsung released it’s latest giant phone earlier in the year.

While some may dislike the giant phones, Juniper says they probably aren’t going anywhere. The research firm estimates that manufacturers will ship 120 million phablets by 2018. That’s six times more than what they shipped in 2013.

Juniper classifies any phone with a 5.6-inch or larger display as a phablet. The classification includes obvious phones such as the Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max. Juniper’s size standards mean phones like the LG G Flex and Oppo N1 are also considered phablets.

Phablets have proven successful in Samsung’s native Korea and other Eastern Asian countries where the S Pen of the Galaxy note series is helpful for writing Korean characters. The phones are also popular in English speaking countries, however. In recent years phone sizes have trended upward, with many smartphone users opting for larger and larger devices. You can’t get much larger than the Galaxy Note 3 or Sony Xperia Z Ultra without venturing into tablet sizes.

Are you surprised that phablets are so popular? Is there a limit to the size of smartphone you’ll willingly carry around?

  • Jayfeather787

    It’s funny how the definition of phablet has changed over the years. The Note 1 was considered a phablet and it had a 5 inch screen, and now, the s4 and Nexus 5 have 5 inch screens (or 4.96). I am not suprised they are so popular because they are simply awesome. Phablets are easier to see and read, and everything looks great on them.

    • The_Method

      The Note actually had a 5.3″ screen if memory serves. I had one, and NOBODY KNEW WHAT IT WAS, and would go out of their way to tell me my phone was gigantic. It had its problems and I eventually switched it for an S3, but then the (even bigger) Note 2 came out and everyone had one, and nobody looked at it strangely, and now the Note 3’s even more popular. Go figure.

      • Jayfeather787

        Oh sorry. That fact just threw off my comment. It does have a 5.3 inch screen.

        • The_Method

          It didn’t throw it off that much, considering it still wouldn’t be considered a phablet by today’s standards, despite pretty much being the original phablet. (Neither would the Note 2)

        • The_Method

          Also I’d be surprised if the S5 wasn’t over 5″, which would have definitely been considered phablet sized when the Note 1 came out.

    • Guest123

      Moving targets. . .

      Just picked up a LG Optimus G Pro yesterday (@ $369 I couldn’t resist), 5.5″ and I’m not a phablet? I feel a little disappointed lol. I’ve always felt that ~6″ is the optimal size for a smartphone. The OGP at 5.5″ is pretty good, but I still feel a 1/4″ to 1/2″ more would be optimal, especially with minimal bezel.

      Once people get off the idea that a 3.5″ device was the “perfect size” they’ll join the ranks :)

      • Jayfeather787

        I saw a g pro on craigslist for 250. Just saying.

        • Kash Gummaraju

          on craigslist- I can’t believe people still use that

        • Guest123

          Yeah, not worth the potential problems. . . not to mention two years warranty with AX :) — emailed a person off cl for one and asked for the numbers to check it if was stolen or not, never heard back. . .

          Generally on ebay you can pick them up for under $250, but then add warranty and you are at $300+, and most of them are “user refurbished” C grade. I expect prices on devices to drop like a rock in 2014.

          • Jason Yuen

            As a person who buys and sells things on CL and the Canadian Kijiji, that guy who didn’t answer you probably thought you were too much of a hassle to deal with. The fact is that phones are easy to sell in the second hand market. The seller doesn’t need to jump through hoops to sell it. If I receive 2 emails asking about 1 phone and 1 email asks me for serial number, or if I can meet somewhere closer to them, or pay me online and I ship it to them, I’d put my focus on the other email that doesn’t ask so many questions. I know what I sell is legit and it’s just annoying to deal with too many questions from one potential buyer. Some people ask for more detailed pictures and I just ignore those. Of course the seller must be responsible in disclosing damages, scratches, imperfections, and post clear and honest pictures. Yes, some sellers are scammers, but from what I see, there are many more buyers who barely even take a second look at the phone when you meet up with them to sell. From the seller’s point of view, it’s not worth the hassle.

          • Guest123

            yeah, I understand your points. however, this person didn’t respond and kept relisting, thus he/s wasn’t selling the device. .. something was up. nonetheless, for the $100 savings for a used vs new with two year warranty didn’t seem worth it.

          • Jason Yuen

            It’s also not uncommon to see someone relisting a phone over and over again. In my case, I would buy and sell second hand iPhones with many iPhones selling at any one time. I would have more or less the same ad relisted every night since I had many identical phones to sell. Some people were watching my listings and tried to lowball me thinking that I couldn’t sell the phone in reality I sold it and have another to sell. You’d be surprised how many people sell defective iPhones that are covered under warranty. All I had to do is buy these defective phones, take them to apple store to have it replaced under warranty, and resell at a higher price.

  • Andrew White

    The definition of a phablet in terms of size has changed. Now anything over 5.5″ which include tablets is a waste of your money and corporate resources.
    Smarter phones are about mobility, consealment and multiple levels of connectivity, not only to networks but the home entertainment unit and other devices NFC enabled or otherwise.

    • tech4life

      Do you know what your talking about?

    • NTD

      I have a Moto X and love it, but the 4.7″ screen isn’t enough (but nor would a 5.0″ or 5.25″…).. Who upgrades a little if you see room for improvement? My next phone will be what this article defines as a phablet. Maybe not a Phablet by 2015 standards though… ;)

      The only question is how big is big enough? I see 7″ Phablets (maybe 7.5″) being the logical (pocketable) limit with the bulk of the Phablet market centered in the 6″ range.

      This sounds like “640 kilobites is enough” or ‘3.5inches is the perfect form factor…’ Tastes evolve. Who expected a mainstream phone at 5″ (S4) two years ago. Not me… and I was arguing for Phablets…


      • Andrew White

        my argument is, that with the incoming ‘Ultra High Def 4k’ video capture/replay capable 805 or octa core based very smart phones that will either retain a 1080p or move to the more densely pixelated 2k screen.
        Where does this leave the tablet? Is anyone going to use a the ‘old slab’ for photographic purposes, video or stills.
        I really only see them being used by school children. I’m talkin’ cheaper Android devices not iPads.
        You mention 7″ or a 7.5″ phablet as being pocketable. I agree in some circumstances it may be possible, but they definitely won’t be manageable using mostly one hand.
        I have a 6″ Huawei, an Optimus G Pro 5.5″ (which is much smaller in the hand than a Note 3) and a Blackberry Z10 4.3″ which I can praise enough. The Huawei is just too much of a stretch and lacks power.
        Bottom line. If you can afford to combine an UHD TV with one of the next gen superphones, simply do it. Little or no duplication and a high degree of future proofing.

  • cyanogenuser84

    Love my Note 3!

  • jack

    Had the Note 1 and still got my Note 2 as a back up phone. I enjoy my Note 3 w/ stock rom as of now. Can’t wait for the Note 4 to drop this year.

  • Groud Frank

    Notice the regions and counties where phablets are most popular. You’ll here named like China, India, Japan and South Korea. They are old civilisation with culturally mature people unlike the West, namely North American and to a less extent Europe. Only in the West would people care about how “stupid” they looked in public holding a large phone to their heads. They care so much of what others think of them that it prevents them from potential experiencing a greater smartphone experience in the form of screen real estates, extended battery life, etc. Another silly comment they make is about their phone fitting in their jeans (Mind you, I wear size 30 waist skin jeans and I can take my 6 inch phone out of my pocket while seated in the back seat of a car that maxed out its backseat capacity). Just look at the articles written around the genesis of the Galaxy Note 1. The level of ignorance and folly contained in them is astonishing.

  • Jason Yuen

    I went from HTC Magic to Galaxy S1, S2, S3, to Note 3. I can’t say that the increasing screen size has ever bothered me. In fact, I am used to the Note 3 screen size already and wouldn’t mind it going up to half a foot. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that screen sizes are getting bigger, but the overall phone package has gotten relatively smaller. Even if the note 4 screen size went up to 6 inches and physically became the size of a note 2, it would be acceptable to me.

    • Kassim

      A 6″ phone within a 5.5″ Note 2 footprint?

      Please look at the Note 2’s size again – to me, it would seem highly improbable within the laws of physics phone manufacturers operate under…

      • Matevz

        Even note 3 that has 0.2″ bigger screen than note 2 and has the same/very similar footprint was hard for them to make. The bezels are almost minimal. I don’t think they can squeeze much bigger screen in there.. They would have to get rid of physical home button and Samsung logo on top and they might get the height of a 6incher.. But i dont think that kind of phone would be comfortable to hold. And side bezels are already minimal…

      • Jason Yuen

        What Matevz said is what I’m getting at. I didn’t say it has to be a specific dimension, but the point was that Samsung was able to fit a bigger screen on the note 3 in a package smaller than the note 2 thanks to miniaturization of technology. What’s more is that it’s entirely possible that the note 4 would sport a flexible display. That’s not to say that the screen will be curved. their flexible display technology is actually thinner than the traditional AMOLED panels they currently create. That further helps reduce package size. You’re right that phone manufacturers operate under what is technologically possible at this moment in time, but that doesn’t mean it’s physically impossible. With this combined with other advances in other areas, I wouldn’t be surprised to see exactly that happen. If this conversation happened a year ago, you would have said the same thing and told me to look at the note 1 again. Clearly technology has advanced further than you might realize. The note 3 could have been the same size as the note 2, but with a significantly larger battery. A thinner phone is easier to sell than a bigger battery which is why it happened.

  • Matevz

    I wonder how long will Apple stick to their “perfect” screen size :) They already bit their tongue when making Iphone 5 a little taller while keeping “perfect size” ratio for one handed use (thumb reach the whole screen)… I bet if they were’nt so stubborn and proud they would increase already. But let’s face it, that 4 inch screen they use, it is prehistoric. My mum has a bigger display on here feature phone :D sooner or later they will have to admit that Samsung was right about bigger is better introducing the Note line or the time train will wreck them :)