Just when you thought you had the phablet thing down (and could say it in a serious tone without chuckling), Samsung decided to add another invented word to the mix: fonblet.
As one might imagine, the fonblet, like a phablet, is a converged phone and tablet. But as Techcrunch points out, perhaps the addition of handwriting recognition makes the fonbelt special.
Samsung used its recent analysts day to show where the company is heading. J.K. Shin, co-chief executive and head of the mobile business, said it expects to ship more than 100 million Galaxy S and Note devices this year. By 2015, VentureBeat reported, it expects to launch mobile devices with foldable displays, along with major advancements in its processor and memory technology. (Devices with bendable screens are expected next year.)
Talk about the big-screen phone the company wants us to start calling a fonblet and its handwriting recognition capacity is meant to allay investor jitters on fears that smartphone sales may be slowing and show that the company is developing technology, VentureBeat said.
But, really, fonblet? The phablet nomenclature was bad enough.
Kidding aside, call these devices whatever you fancy. The more important things are how these converged devices will change the smart connected device landscape, how fast consumers will adopt them, and (specifically for EBN readers) how the design and supply chain will respond to next-generation product predictions and growth estimations.
International Data Corp. recently said it expects tablet shipments to surpass PC shipments this quarter. PCs will retain an edge for the full-year count, but the firm forecasts that tablet shipments will overtake PC shipments in that category by the end of 2015. High-volume smartphone shipments are expected to surpass 1.4 billion units in 2015 and account for 69% of all smart connected device shipments worldwide.
In addition to predicting a wave of low-cost devices that will spark interest among first-time buyers worldwide in the next few quarters in price-sensitive markets like education, IDC says there could soon be a new round of device cannibalization. This time, large-screen smartphones (five inches or more) will start impacting small tablets (7-8 inches).
"The device world has seen several iterations of cannibalization impacting different categories, with the last few years focused on tablets cannibalizing PC sales," Bob O'Donnell, IDC's program vice president for clients and displays, said in a press release. "Over the next 12-18 months, however, we believe the larger smartphones, commonly called 'phablets', will start to eat into the smaller-size tablet market, contributing to a slower growth rate for tablets."
A name may be just a name, but a device may not be just a device. As Samsung and competitors duke it out on the form factor side and add features they hope will lure the masses to their corner, consumers will be their fickle selves and try to figure out what's the difference between a PC, a smartphone, a tablet, a phablet, and a fonblet. And they probably won't care as long they have their camera, email, photos, and social media links all together in their pocket.