It makes sense that tablets get bigger as phones doAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
In today's smartphone market, it's hard to deny that the demand for manufacturers to produce bigger phones is becoming increasingly evident. With phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia and the LG Optimus G Pro all making headlines and having 5-inch screens or larger, it would seem like larger screens have become the norm for modern smartphones, and even favored in many cases. As screens continue to head in the larger direction, like with the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, which features a 6.4-inch screen, the line between "phablet" and "tablet" is getting thinner and thinner. So while it seems like phones won't be shrinking in size any time soon, what do you do for tablets?
Make tablets bigger, of course.
For a while, your two main tablet sizes were either a 7-inch screen or a 10.1-inch screen. 7-inch tablets were a good solution for those who wanted smaller screens, and 10-inch tablets were good for people who needed something bigger. While 10-inch tablets are still dominating the market, 7-inch tablets seems to be waning a bit in favor of 8-inch tablets. Although there are still several popular 7-inch tablets on the market (take the Nexus 7, for example) I have to wonder how long this tablet size will be successful if these larger phones like the Galaxy Mega and the Z Ultra become as popular as phones in the 5-inch range have become. Would people who own a Galaxy Mega or a Z Ultra feel the need to purchase a tablet that has a screen that only measures less than an inch bigger than the screen on their phone? Or will they require for something bigger?
8-inch tablets seem to be making a name for themselves in the tablet market. Apple, who has been dominating the tablet market with their 10.1-inch iPad, released an 8-inch variant called the iPad Mini in November of 2012. Although at first the reception to the tablet was what Forbes called "lukewarm" due to its watered-down specs of its larger variant, people actually found the experience of the iPad Mini quite pleasant due to the fact that it wasn't too big or too small. Perhaps Apple found a sweet spot in the uncommon 8-inch variant of a tablet. Perhaps this is what caused Samsung to create and announce an 8-inch variant of the popular Note line of devices the following February, a device which I happily own.
On the 10-inch tablet front, things seem well for the time being. But as emerging 8-inch tablets start to do the same thing that phablets did to the 7-inch tablet, will we start to see 10-inch tablets increase in size as well? From what it looks like, it may already be heading in that direction as Samsung is reportedly already preparing a 12.2-inch tablet.
I normally have a lot to say when it comes to Samsung and how many variants of products they make, but in regards to a larger tablet I feel like this move makes sense given the popular direction that phones have taken after being introduced to larger variants (which Samsung also started). Who is to say that larger tablets won't follow the same path, especially considering how well the 8-inch tablet idea seems to be taking off? Despite how I feel about gigantic phones, I don't necessarily feel the same way about tablets. Tablets, in my opinion, were meant to be big for a variety of reasons (media viewing, presentations, to serve as a latop alternative, etc.) and have a lot more wiggle room before it is deemed unreasonably large. Also, since Samsung has already revealed its Ativ Q, a tablet-computer hybrid which features a 13.3-inch screen, releasing a tablet that's an inch smaller doesn't really seem that alarming in regards to size.
It's hard to say how a 12.2-inch tablet would fare before it hits the market, but I am curious to see how it plays out. The increase in size itself makes sense as our gadgets find themselves being supersized, but will people think that it's too big, even for a tablet? What are your thoughts, readers?