About a month ago we talked about phablets and the possibility of the mobile technologies true emergence into the market. We have already seen the Galaxy Note and Note 2 gather a decent following, but it looks like not only Samsung, but Asus is looking to take the next step. These two mobile development giants have announced and are set to release the Galaxy Note 8.0 and Asus Fonepad respectively. This could very well be the big move that we mentioned and possibly the beginnings of a new niche being carved out into the mobile market. Yet the initial skepticism is proving to be quite potent. It is not surprising that a large number of mobile consumers look at these giant smartphones humorously, but there are a good number of users out there who may want their phone and tablet to be the same mobile device.
Galaxy Note 8.0
This mobile device is looking to break into the market in a big way. SamsungÔÇÖs goal for 2013 is to see similar success with tablets that they had with smartphones in 2012 and it seems that this is the first big step in that direction. It is the first device to ship with the native app Awesome Note, which up to this point was only available on iOS devices. Samsung will offer WiFi, 3G and 4G LTE versions of the 8.0 which will retain full phone capabilities, meaning you can hold it to your head and talk into it like you would a Galaxy S 3. Many find this to be a laughable function, but a Bluetooth device could solve a lot of the problems and you can still use it as a regular phone if you needed to. It is important to note that there are rumors that cell phone enabled 8.0 devices will not be sold in the States. It may be true, but I would wait for an official announcement from Samsung.
The recently announced 7-inch competitor from Asus may be the first cell phone enabled tablet in the US market. This things price point is relatively aggressive considering what it is. The US should see it at $250 for the 16GB model during April. There is some speculation on how big this device will actually hit. The specs are not very impressive and aside from the 3G capabilities the Nexus 7 (also made by Asus) is a much better buy. It is important to know that Intel is making an entry into tablets with its Atom Z2420.
These devices will take the phablet trend to all new levels, but will it actually stick? There is a definite need for devices such as these as some consumers who prefer their tablet and welcome the chance to only carry the larger of their two devices. These mobile devices are not for everyone, as can be seen by the teasing and mocking surrounding them. Joking aside phablets could very well be here to stay as the tablet market continues to grow.
What I Think
Being one of the many consumers who are excited to be able to carry a tablet that can replace my smartphone, I eagerly await the release of these devices. I have frequently wished that my Nexus 7 could replace my android smartphone and it looks like this year I will be able to make that happen. 2013 has just started and there is already much to look forward to, what could be next? I am waiting for a larger phablet like the 2 mentioned above that is truly competitive with the bigger devices. The Note 8.0 is really close, but it just seems off, not to mention it may not even reach the US as anything but a tablet. The Asus device really didnÔÇÖt ÔÇ£wowÔÇØ me, I am glad to see Intel enter the game, but I am still waiting for the usual big finish to the year to see what we might get.