LG Electronics has a 5-inch LG Optimus VU "phablet" planned, possibly for a Feb. 21 release. Like Samsung, LG is betting the time is right for the 5-inch tablet-phone.
LG Electronics has released a teaser video
showing off the sharp, clean lines of what it's calling the LG Optimus VU, a
"phablet" with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 5-inch display, on the
A photo of the device of the
Japanese site Datacider
shows a date stamp on the device of Feb. 21, which Engadget
points out, "may or may not be a hint." According to Datacider,
the VU is expected to run
Android 2.3 and be upgradeable, of course, to 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich. Other
leaked specs include a Qualcomm 1.5GHz dual-core processor; 1GB of RAM; 8GB of
ROM; an 8-megapixel camera; and support for WiFi, Bluetooth and near field
communication (NFC) technologies.
LG, like Samsung, has
clearly decided that the market is ripe for the 5-inch tabletand that the Dell
Slate was simply ahead of its time. The Slate, an early arriver on the iPad-era
tablet scene, was generally complimented though panned for its terrible
"pocketability." Sales were poor and it's no longer available.
Kay told eWEEK
will likely give the Galaxy Note a look, "now that their minds have been
opened to the idea of tablets."
The Note notably features a
feature-rich stylus, the S Pen, for more precise input than a finger to the
touch-screen, as well as for capturing and rearranging input. Samsung has
already sold millions of Notes overseas, since releasing it in October, and on
Feb. 19, it will arrive in the United States on the AT&T network, for $300
with a two-year contract.
Writing in Forbes
Kay added that if a phableta combination of phone and tablet, and a moniker
whose originator is unclearis designed right, "the size compromise works
Kay adds that Apple has helped
consumers find viewing video at a close range to be acceptable, and that, as
Philips theorized at a 2006 conference, audio quality actually has a bigger
impact on one's assessment of the user experience than video quality.
The phablet, then, offers
the perk of fitting in pocketsalbeit roomy pocketswhile increasing that
all-precious factor of screen real estate.
In a Feb.
3 report, Canalys
said that tablet shipments during the fourth quarter of
2011 had reached 26.5 million units, for a 2011 total of 63.2 million units.
The Apple iPad accounted for 15.4 million of the quarter's shipments.
Canalys rolls tablet sales
into PC figuresand still reported that smartphone sales during the quarter
had, for the first time, passed PC shipments. It also does interesting math in
choosing to count Google-branded Samsung smartphones as Google productsa
distinction that made Apple the No. 1 smartphone seller for the year, instead
of Samsung, as research firm IHS
By IHS' figures, Samsung
shipped 95 million smartphones in 2011, to Apple's 93 million. During the
fourth quarter, Apple moved 37 million iPhones, while Samsung moved 36 million
"Samsung advanced in
2011 because of its strategy of offering a complete line of smartphone
products, spanning a variety of price points, features and operating
systems," IHS Senior Analyst Wayne Lam said in a statement. "This
enabled Samsung to move past perennial market leader Nokia and to slightly
exceed Apple's total for the year."
The introduction of
fence-straddling phablets may make quarterly tallies even trickier for the
analysts, though happy news for Samsung either way.