There has been debate whether Apple should offer an iPhone with a larger screen, competing with Android selling what some have dubbed ‘phablets’ for spanning both phones and tablets. Now comes a well-known mobile research firm calling phablets just ‘a fad.’
In a note to mobile developers entitled “Size Matters for Connected Devices, Phablets Don’t,” analytics firm Flurry Monday said phablets comprise only a single-digit portion of devices compared to mid-size phones and large tablets, such as the iPhone and iPad…
“Phablets appear to make up an insignificant part of the device installed base, and do not show disproportionately high enough app usage to justify support,” the firm’s Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD blogged.
According to Flurry, phablets with screens between 5 inches and 6.9 inches account for only two percent of devices it saw during February, registering a similar amount of active phablet users and sessions.
By comparison, small tablets – such as the iPad mini – between 7 inches and 8.4 inches comprise six percent of devices. However, full-size tablets, such as the iPad, account for seven percent of devices and thirteen percent of both active users and app sessions, according to Flurry.
As for smartphones, 69 percent of the devices Flurry detected had screens between 3.5 inches and 4.9 inches.That size range also had 72 percent of acive users and more than 75 percent of app sessions.
“From our study, consumers most prefer and use apps on medium-sized smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy smartphones and full0sized tablets like the iPad,” Gordon wrote.
Although sixteen percent of devices they detected were under 3.5 inches, the majority were BlackBerries which had only seven percent of active users and only four percent of app sessions.
Another chart by Flurry illustrated the percent of active users by device form factor and mobile operating system. For Apple, 74 percent of iOS users – or nearly three out of four – were on an iPhone while 24 percent were on a full-size iPad.
Just how Android dominates the phablet market can be seen showing seven percent of phablets are Android, versus two percent overall. In the case of Android, 70 percent of users of Google’s operating system were on a mid-size smartphone, with fourteen percent using a small smartphone, likely a BlackBerry.
Another interesting number appears when we look at which activity is most popular with each device form factor. By a huge margin, tablets are the preferred platform for gaming, while by an equally large percent medium-sized smartphones are used for reading books and viewing videos.
Flurry explains the difference, suggesting videos are often watched on-the-go by smartphones while tablets are used for videos when at home or at the office. More videos and books should be viewed on tablets and the devices expand their reach, reasons the firm.
In the end, the analytics firm suggests developer – specifically game makers – concentrate their efforts on tablets, foregoing work on small smartphones or cross-over phablets.