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Phablets a Passing Fad: Report Says Bigger Isn't Always Better

Is today's Galaxy Note II tomorrow's Zack Morris phone? Flurry, a service that tracks and analyzes mobile apps and app usage across approximately 1 billion smartphones, thinks that large-screen phablets such as the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II are just a passing fad. The company's data shows that only 2 percent of device models fall into the phablet size category and these devices only account for 7 percent of active Android users. According to Flurry, these statistics point to both a small share of device usage and a paltry number of active users.

While many users laud phablets for an enhanced experience when gaming or watching videos, Flurry's statistics actually show that medium-size smartphones still dominate usage in both of these categories. For gaming apps, phablet users only account for 2 percent of the time distribution, with a vast majority of gameplay occurring on medium-size phones. There were similar results for video viewing, with phablets accounting for only 2 percent of the time distribution and medium-size phones taking up a whopping 85 percent of the time spent in this category.

Despite the adoption of large-size phablets over the past few years, low user activity may point toward a drop in popularity in the near future. Mobile app developers want to capture active users, not target specific devices, so fewer apps may be optimized for a phablet-size display and make the category even less desirable as a result.

"Phablets appear to make up an insignificant part of the device installed base," Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD writes on the official Flurry blog, "[These devices] do not show disproportionately high enough app usage to justify support."