Taipei, Thursday, April 17, 2014 03:30 (GMT+8)
partly cloudy
Phablet: The paradigm shift
Rodney Chan, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Friday 15 March 2013]

Looking at the "phablet" - the hybrid of, or a bridge between, a phone and tablet - I can't help but think of the colossal military-walkie-talkie-looking first-generation cell phone.

The Homo erectus of cell phones was so big that it could hardly fit into your pocket. Well, it was never meant to perhaps; for the huge device was something you would want to brandish around. It was a symbol of one's social status and wealth at a time when few could afford to own a cell phone.

But then the form factor of cell phones started shrinking - as if following Moore's Law - to the point where small was the paradigm of the mobile device market. Not anymore now; the arrival of the phablet has signaled a paradigm shift - swinging back towards the large-end of the spectrum.

How are we going to adjust ourselves to this paradigm shift? An inch thinner for a "walkie talkie" might not mean much, but the present mobile device market is being defined by tiny fractions of an inch.

So how are consumers going to decide what phablet sizes they need? Maybe we should have "phasion" designers work out a "phace" size chart, allowing users to determine what sizes fit their faces. After all, a quarter of an inch too large may not look good on a small face. Of course, the phablet is much less about making calls than surfing the Internet and enjoying multimedia. But you would still want to look chic when you do make a phone call with a phablet, wouldn't you?

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