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Also, tweets in space, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, cheap Windows tablets, next-generation Minecraft, and Ikea mocks Apple.

Phablet Shipments Are Set To Soar

Phablets Fabulous Phablets: The 5 Best Big-Screen Smartphones You Can Buy Fabulous Phablets: The 5 Best Big-Screen Smartphones You Can Buy If you're going to buy a big-screen phone now, and by that, we mean something that's larger than a 5.5-inch screen and smaller than a 7-inch tablet, these are your best options. Read More are set to keep on growing, that is, in terms of sales rather than screen size. This is according to International Data Corp. (IDC), which predicts phablet shipments will soon surpass shipments both of tablets and laptops. For the uninitiated, “phablet” is a portmanteau of phone and tablet, coined due to the size of these devices (between 5.5-inches and 6.9-inches).

IDC estimates shipments of 175 million phablets in 2014, which is slightly more than the 170 million laptops expected to be shipped during the same period. In 2015, IDC predicts a huge increase to 318 million units, more than the 233 million tablets shipping during the same period. By 2018, phablets could represent 32 percent of the total smartphone market.

Phablets started out as a bit of a joke, with people openly mocking those stupidly large screens, but that is no longer the case. This change in mindset is cemented by the fact Apple is expected to launch its own phablet, with a 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 Apple Supersizes iPhone & iPad, Instagram Hyperlapse Turns Heads, And More... [Tech News Digest] Apple Supersizes iPhone & iPad, Instagram Hyperlapse Turns Heads, And More... [Tech News Digest] HP didn't start the fire, Uber goes on lunch break, the Sounds of Street View are melodious, the sounds of typewriters typing are annoying, and reasons to never take selfies in front of people. Read More all but guaranteed to make an appearance on September 9. [Insert Steve Jobs What Is The Legacy Of Steve Jobs? [Geeks Weigh In] What Is The Legacy Of Steve Jobs? [Geeks Weigh In] Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO of Apple, and while he will continue as Apple's chairman, his relinquishment of the title is a clear indication that he sees his time as Apple’s leader coming... Read More turning in his grave joke here]

Switzerland Should Be Scared Of iWatch

Apple is expected to unveil its long-gestating smartwatch Windows Store Loses Fake Apps, Apple iWatch Incoming, And More... [Tech News Digest] Windows Store Loses Fake Apps, Apple iWatch Incoming, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Twitter analyzes your tweets, Kinect for Xbox One, a side order of smartphones, selfish Olympus unveils selfie camera, and real life imitates art when a SWAT team stops a live stream. Read More at the iPhone 6 press event on Sept. 9. Probably. Whether it makes an appearance or not, Jony Ive, the egotastic Senior Vice President of Design at Apple, is confident it will succeed. So much so, he thinks the iWatch will eat into the market for classic Swiss timepieces.

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As reported by The New York Times and parsed by 9to5Mac:

“According to a designer who works at Apple, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, in bragging about how cool he thought the iWatch was shaping up to be, gleefully said Switzerland is in trouble — though he chose a much bolder term for ‘trouble’ to express how he thought the watchmaking nation might be in a tough predicament when Apple’s watch comes out.”

As good as the Apple iWatch may be, and this could well be the game changer for smartwatches, surely it won’t sway watch collectors into abandoning the spiritual home of analog timepieces. Will it?!

NASA Sends Tweets Into Space

NASA is offering everyone the chance to have their tweets or Instagram photos blasted into space. In total, 50 of the best tweets and 50 of the best Instagram photos tagged with #AsteroidMission will be included in a time capsule aboard the OSIRIS-REx, a spacecraft embarking on a round-trip mission to the asteroid Bennu.

OSIRIS-REx is due to depart in 2016, and not return to Earth until 2023. You only have until September 30, 2014, to get your submission in, with full details available on the official Asteroid Time Capsule website. Nanu nanu.

The Galaxy Note Edge Is Too Weird

Phablets may be increasing in popularity, but we’re not sure the world is ready for the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. This phablet is almost identical to the Galaxy Note 4 except for the extra display that curves around the edge of the handset. This extra display works independently of the main display, with contextual controls based on which app you’re using at any given moment.

This is decidedly odd, but then Samsung is known for throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. And at least it’s original, with no one suggesting the Korean company copied this particular feature from Apple. Unless the iPhone 6 has something similar. Dun-dun-duuun!

A Windows 8.1 Tablet For Just $119

If you desperately want a Windows 8.1 tablet but cannot afford the pricey Surface Pro 3 Surface Pro 3 Reviews, Happy Google Employees, Free Amazon Fire TVs [Tech News Digest] Surface Pro 3 Reviews, Happy Google Employees, Free Amazon Fire TVs [Tech News Digest] Microsoft Surface Pro 3 reviews, an update on Apple buying Beats, Google keeps its employees happy, free Amazon Fire TVs, the PlayStation 4 in China, Google+ Stories, and an iPhone ringtones dance track. Read More , then the Encore Mini from Toshiba may fulfil your needs. This is a 7-inch Windows 8.1 tablet priced at just $119. A price which buys you a quad-core Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage.

The Toshiba Encore Mini is set to start shipping on Sept. 17, and we can see these things flying off the shelves. Windows 8.1 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 Are horror stories of how Windows 8.1 upgrades went horribly wrong keeping you from upgrading yourself? If you are longing to try Windows 8.1, you can now learn from other people's lessons and upgrade safely! Read More may suck as a desktop operating system but it’s surprisingly good on tablets.

Minecraft Imminent For PS4, Xbox One

The insanely popular gaming phenomenon that is Minecraft A Latecomer’s Introduction To Minecraft [MUO Gaming] A Latecomer’s Introduction To Minecraft [MUO Gaming] Minecraft, the block-based sensation that took gaming by storm, is now well over three years old. It’s almost hard to believe it’s been that long since the first alpha was posted – and it’s equally... Read More is set to land on the next-gen consoles this week. Minecraft will arrive on PS4 today (Sept. 4), and arrive on Xbox One tomorrow (Sept. 5). Both versions are attractively priced, with upgrade options for those who originally bought the game for PS3 and Xbox 360, respectively.

Ikea Mocks Apple With BookBook Commercial

And finally, Ikea has mercilessly mocked Apple and its hyperbolic, hipsterish style of ads with a video introducing the 2015 catalog. This isn’t a book, it’s a bookbook. With eternal battery life, and no need for any cables, this is a mesmerizing product. Just don’t try playing Angry Birds 5 Reasons Angry Birds Is So Damn Addictive 5 Reasons Angry Birds Is So Damn Addictive My name is Dave Parrack, I'm a 34-year-old freelance writer from England, and I have a problem. I'm addicted to playing Angry Birds. Being hooked on catapulting feathered weapons of mass destruction into smug pigs... Read More on it, or you’ll be bitterly disappointed.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Do you see the appeal of phablets? Do you think the iWatch will threaten the market for classic timepieces? Is the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge too bizarre to succeed?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr

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