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Bigger is best: why phablets are on the rise

Larger smartphones – including the iPhone 6+ and Samsung's Galaxy Note – are taking sales from smartphones and tablet

Inside the Enterprise: When phablets first came to the market, some commentators questioned the need for a device that is neither a smartphone nor a tablet PC.

But, despite some scepticism, phablets have sold well. In fact phablets - defined by most analysts as devices with screens of at least 5.5in - have seen their sales grow steadily since Samsung launched its first Galaxy Note in 2012. Today, according to market research firm GfK, phablets account for 12.8 per cent of mobile sales, worldwide.

The phablet's not-so-secret weapon is its screen size. Phablets are all-rounders, fulfilling the combined roles of a smartphone and tablet but for a lower price than just one of these devices.

Unsurprisingly, given that Samsung led the way in the phablet market, the devices are most popular in Asia Pacific. There, GfK calculates that they account for 17.5 per cent of sales. However, in Europe, sales of phablets have more than doubled since last year, to 6.4 per cent of the market.

In Europe and elsewhere, sales of phablets have been boosted by Apple's release of the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple itself has cited strong sales of the 6 Plus as a significant revenue driver in its first quarter.

Figures from Apple and other vendors suggest that phablets are also taking sales from tablets, especially as the price of larger handsets has fallen. Apple itself admits that iPad sales have fallen.

Although it is impossible to say for sure how many iPad users have switched to phones such as the 6 Plus, or bought one instead of an iPad, a larger smartphone makes sense especially for enterprise users.

Samsung's original Note was designed squarely as a business or productivity device, rather than for entertainment.

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