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Phablets - the intellectual's choice?

Phablet owners are more likely to be voracious readers, social influencers, entertainment enthusiasts and business travelers.

gadgets Updated: Sep 10, 2014 10:57 IST

Phablet owners are more likely to be voracious readers, social influencers, entertainment enthusiasts and business travelers.

At the start of 2013, Flurry Analytics, a company that monitors and scrutinizes mobile device and app use, more or less called phablets -- i.e., smartphones with a pocket-bursting 5-6.9-inch display, a fad.

They represented just 2 % of all mobile devices capable of running Apple, Android or BlackBerry apps. However, in the time that has passed, more and more companies have followed Samsung's lead by launching handsets with bigger and bigger screens and in some regions, such as Asia, phablets account for 25 % of smartphone shipments and are even stealing tablet and notebook sales.

So Flurry decided to run its research again and has found that the devices are not just hitting their stride, but are creating some very specific behavior characteristics. Phablets now account for 10 % of mobile devices on the market, up from just 2 % a year ago and are the go-to devices for 6 % of active mobile users -- up from 3 % a year ago. When data relating solely to Android devices is considered, phablets represent 18 % of handsets in use.

However, although the numbers are still comparatively low (72 % of all active mobile devices across all ecosystems sport a screen of between 3-inches and 4.9-inches), phablets have a disproportionate share of app activity -- 11 % of all app sessions recorded by Flurry in its global sample of 59,214 devices.

And when it comes to the types of apps, gaming and social media are just as popular with phablet users as on other types of devices, however, when it comes to reading, they're in a league of their own, accounting for 10 % of all time on all devices spent in books even though, as Flurry points out, phablets only represent 6 % of the global installed base of handsets.

But as well as reading, phablet owners over-index as social influencers by 2.4 times -- 35 % of owners are social influencers, compared to 15 % of all mobile users across all devices. Phablet owners are also 1.5 times more likely to be business travellers or business professionals and twice as likely to be entertainment enthusiasts.

As Flurry's Jarah Euston points out, the results show that now that the smartphone is truly established as a device its users want bigger screens: "For the last six years, smartphones and tablets have been replacing everything from TVs to magazines to PCs to books as the primary way people consume information and media. As mobile screens become even more integral to our daily habits, it makes sense that people want more room to roam."