Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is seeking to
dazzle followers of the phablet with bigger screens, and even possibly
with a curved one, in its attempt to fence off a segment of smartphones
once mocked for their girth and size, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Phablets, a cross between a phone and a
tablet, have been on a roll since late 2011 as tech-savvy consumers,
particularly in Asia, devote more time browsing data-heavy Web pages and
downloading media content.
Even Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4
smartphone, released in April this year, has a 5-inch screen that puts
it squarely in the phablet category for some analysts.
On Wednesday, Samsung kicked off global sales of its latest Galaxy Note 3 smartphone in Seoul.
The phablet, which boasts a 5.7-inch
screen and costs $990 in South Korea without a carrier contract, will be
available in 140 nations by October.
Analysts say the medium-term outlook for
phablets is good, but price points and the lure of their smaller, more
portable cousins will keep a lid on consumer enthusiasm.
Canalys expects smartphones with 5.1-6 inch screens to make up 6 percent of the market in 2013.
The Singapore-based research firm is estimating overall global shipments of 993 million smartphones this year.

“We’re certainly seeing a shift for
large-screen phones, but the vast majority of volumes are sub-5-inch –
over 90 per cent,” said Rachel Lashford, an analyst at Canalys. “We
would need to see devices at lower price points and from a much wider
range of vendors, including Apple, to go beyond these forecasts.”
The growing popularity of phablets has galvanised Western names into action.
Google’s Motorola unit recently launched
a 5-inch Droid Ultra, and even Apple Inc, which has stuck to a 3.5-inch
form factor for its iPhone since 2007 debut, is also exploring offering
iPhones with larger screens, four people with knowledge of the matter
said previously.
Nokia had originally planned to launch a large-screen phablet in late September.
“Samsung has been the leader in this
trend, helped by its ability to create and drive the segment through
significant advertising and marketing,” Lashford said.
Driving the phablet’s shift to the
mainstream is a confluence of trends. Users prefer larger screens
because they are consuming more visual content on mobile devices than
before, and using them less for voice calls — the phablet’s weak spot.
“When we first introduced the Note in
2011, a lot of people made a mockery of it and some even said it was
doomed to fail,” Lee Young-hee, executive vice president of mobile
marketing at Samsung, recently told reporters.

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