As Android smartphones gradually begin to rise in size, the difference between the so-called "phablets" and 7-inch tablets is beginning to disappear. Samsung's 5.7-inch Galaxy Note III smartphone is rumored to be only one month from its reveal, news of HTC's upcoming 5.9-inch One Max has begun to leak, and Sony's new Xperia Z Ultra has a full 6.4-inch screen.
Digitimes today is reporting that tablet vendors are beginning to worry that such large smartphones could soon begin cutting into mini-tablet revenues. The report's unnamed "sources from the tablet sector" are quoted as saying large smartphones could soon fulfill the same consumer needs as smaller tablets.
The big differentiator between large smartphones and small tablets is, of course, price. Larger smartphones are priced significantly higher (often above $600) than 7-inch tablets, which are beginning to push down toward the $100 mark. This discrepancy is mainly due to hardware, as large smartphones often have high-end processors, cameras, and graphics. For this reason, DigiTimes sources say, large smartphones could be most dangerous to the tablet market when subsidized through mobile provider subscriptions.
The saving grace for the small tablet market may be that the high-end smartphone market is beginning to saturate. However, if manufacturers can find a way to manufacture less expensive large smartphones, this may not be the case. DigiTimes points out in its report that some white-box Chinese brands are already offering cheap 6-inch screen smartphones for under the equivalent of $200.