Phablets Show Promise, but Lack of Special Apps Slows Enterprise Use

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2015-02-21 Print this article Print
Phablet Future

Now they "want all the features that come along with a desktop or a laptop without the weight and still have the portability," Fruehwald said.

How the Right Apps Could Change the Phablet Landscape

Jeetu Patel, general manager of EMC Syncplicity, the enterprise file synchronization and sharing division of EMC, told eWEEK that he hears the naysayers when it comes to phablet adoption in businesses, but he's convinced that will change once apps catch up to the promise of the devices and their larger screens.

To Patel, the biggest potential game-changer that could help drive phablet use in the enterprise in the future is the promise of custom apps built specifically to take advantage of a phablet's extra display size by adding buttons and other features that can't be included in the same apps for smaller smartphones.

"On more and more of these phablets, the apps on them will look different and will allow apps to be designed for them and their larger screens," he said. "That could completely change how you can interact with the app."

"I think people haven't seen the full potential of the apps yet on the iPhone 6 Plus because the apps haven't been optimized. In the next 6 to 10 months, I think you'll see more apps designed specifically for the iPhone 6 Plus."

The redesigned apps for the larger screens mean that the "hot zones," or areas of an app that allow users to take advantage of built-in features, "completely change the app on a screen as a device is larger," said Patel. The larger screens of phablets can't properly display applications built for the smaller smartphone screen to enable users to perform multiple tasks at once. This issue needs to be fixed to help drive phablet adoption, he said.

Patel added that he believes phablets will complement tablets but not replace them in the enterprise. "A phablet does bring a lot of other possibilities that didn't exist in the past," he said. "For everyone from front-line workers like wait staffs in a restaurant to knowledge workers," the use of phablets will increase as soon as apps appear that meet specific business needs, he said.

"The possibilities are limitless because of the additional real estate," he said. "I believe 100 percent that enterprises will adopt these. As more of these apps start coming out, you'll see more and more of these apps get distributed."

Amrith Kumar, founder and CTO of database as a service vendor Tesora, said that no one device can do everything for every user. But since phablets can allow many business users to do much more than they can on a smaller smartphone, they will deliver business benefits.

Phablets will shine in particular business niches, such as trade show promotions, sales and even the upcoming 2016 presidential election campaign in the United States, Kumar said. He foresees armies of election campaign workers using phablets to go door-to-door to collect data for polls and election canvassing.

"I think phablets are going to change the way people are going to do data collection," said Kumar. "Whether for inventory in a store or wherever, you can have a wrist-mounted phablet easier than you can have a wrist-mounted tablet," he said. The larger screen allows users to do things "that you could never do with a smartphone."


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