Mobile’s reach is greater than ever, and its continuing adoption is driving not just consumer behaviors but also business strategy. More and more companies are declaring that they are going mobile first. Yet what is mobile? It is an industry that has phenomenal momentum and scale.
Phablets are not a phad
There is real demand for phablets, but it may be peaking
Two thirds of phablets in 2014 will be less than 5.1 inches, only just meeting the definition, and less than 10 percent are likely to be 6 inches or larger. About 25 percent of 2013 phablet sales were new versions of existing devices that enlarged the screen and shrank the bezel, rather than actually making the phone larger. Phablets tend to be more popular in Asia than in North America and EMEA – perhaps due to languages based on complex symbols that benefit from larger screens, or due to greater interest in phones that are good for gaming or can replace multiple devices such as PCs and tablets.
The human body and clothing are almost certainly key limiting factors for phablet adoption:
- Many smartphone users want to use their device with only one hand, at least some of the time. Phablets typically require two hands to operate.
- Many users may not want a phone that appears out of scale next to their head when making voice calls.
- Many users carry their phone in their jeans, jacket or small purse—places that phablets generally can’t fit into.
Given the sizes of the various groups who will not want a phablet as their everyday phone, it seems probable that phablets may have an upper limit of between 30-40 percent of the total smartphone market, which suggests their market share may reach a plateau in either 2014 or 2015.
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