Tech News

Phablets Growing In Popularity, Apple Gunning For Switzerland, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 04-09-2014

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 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] 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] 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] 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.

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] 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 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] 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 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


Related topics: Apple, Windows Tablet.

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  1. Nicole
    March 1, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I'm not really a huge fan of anything that is like a portmanteau of two things. I still prefer to keep my phone and smartphone separate. Besides, most phablet are pretty bulky to use, especially when taking calls.

  2. JJSP
    September 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Im an owner of the Sony Xperia Z1 Ultra, the ultimate phablet out right now i believe. Eventhough the GF finds it hilarious when i use it without a bluetooth, it is actually a pretty powerful unit with incredible viewing/reading. While ill admit it is not for everyone (especially if your from the selfie pic crowd), i would recommend it when used with a good bluetooth headset (i use a LG Tone+, almost feels as if it was made for my phone, and hides nicely under a collard shirt). You cant beat the real estate available on it, and the battery life is excellent. This is one of the few phones ive owned that actually makes me want to learn more about becoming a power user. Make sure to pair with a good launcher app.

  3. dragonmouth
    September 4, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Fruitco will probably take a chunk out of the low end watch makers but not the high end, Swiss made. The people who buy Patek Phillipe, Longines, Rolex, etc. will buy them AND iWatches.

    Mr. Ive is engaging in irrational exhuberance when making his statement. It's analogous to saying that the high end automobile makers have something to fear from GM, Ford, Toyota or Fiat. Or the Italian luxury yacht builders will be impacted by Hatteras, Grady-White or Boston Whaler.

  4. DonGateley
    September 4, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    It appears that the Samsung Encore Mini has the same design flaw as the Dell VENUE Pro 8. It only has one port for both powering and for attaching USB peripherals. This is a bigger deal on Windows devices since USB peripherals have a much larger role than on Android. Who would have thunk that any designer would be stupid enough to create something that you can power or use but not both at the same time.

    Dell has recently created an adapter for this purpose that I just discovered:

    I'm going to try it for my VENUE Pro 8. Sorta expensive but necessary. Perhaps it will work on the Samsung as well

  5. DonGateley
    September 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    It appears that the Samsung Encore Mini has the same design flaw as the Dell VENUE Pro 8. It only has one port for both powering and for attaching USB peripherals. This is a bigger deal on Windows devices since USB peripherals have a much larger role than on Android. Who would have thunk that any designer would be stupid enough to create something that you can power or use but not both at the same time.

    Neither the Dell nor the Samsung comes with a dual headed adapter for this purpose and none seems to exist currently from any other source. This:

    has exactly the right gozintas and gozoutas but does not pass power applied to the female jack on to the device, only to attached peripherals. I tried one, even opened it to see if it might be adaptable. A single wire mod just might work but I didn't want to risk my Dell. Maybe they'll get it how close they are to something really necessary.

  6. John Williams
    September 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    too many "justs" sorry - should have got my iTheasaurus or iDictionary out - or maybe not, they would put "just" next to "jelly" and I'd have to Google it in the end.

    • Dave P
      September 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      I iForgive iYou iFor iUsing iToo iMany iJusts ;)

  7. John Williams
    September 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I was hoping to correct your spelling until I discovered that "Egotastic" - " seems to be a slang form of egotistical, which means someone thinks the world revolves around them". A term that could have been made just for Apple

    Despite all the media hype, Apple's market share of "stuff" isn't all that big. Don't forget that Samsung, for example make mountains of other appliances, along with zillions of memory chips and half the parts that Apple use.

    As for Apple taking over the global watch industry - they haven't got a hope of reaching even 1 percent.
    Many people have been making beautiful watches for a very long time. Apple would be far better off buying Timex and then working on how to build their iphone link widget into the strap.

    As for phablets, I am now so used to carrying my Kindle absolutely everywhere that I'm sure my next 6 inch screen e-reader, tablet and phone will all be in one device.

    It will be an Android though. Just the idea of Apple trying for world domination of iBooks is just too amusing.....

    • Dave P
      September 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you for actually checking before calling me out for making a typo. That's rare these days, especially online. It's just "egotistical" really, but I think it worked rather well in this instance.

      I can see smartwatches taking a chunk out of the classic watch market, but i don't think they'll compete for the same userbase, at least not for a few more decades. If ever.

      There have been some devices with an LED screen on one side, and an e-ink screen on the other. And I would totally buy one of those if a major manufacturer brought one out.

      Thanks for the comment :)

  8. James M
    September 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I wouldn't be surprised if phablet popularity does grow. In my experience, it's a pretty good compromise between a smaller phone and a larger tablet, providing features of both in a single device. I was originally unsure if I'd like having one because of the size, but when I tried one in person and saw that it still fit in my pocket and would work fine with how I typically use my devices, I bought one. That's also made my desire to get a tablet essentially disappear. The screen is large enough to basically cover tablet functions while still providing all the smartphone functions I'm used to having. While it could be argued that a smartphone is better at phone stuff and a tablet is better at tablet stuff, having a phablet in between that can handle both well is a good option that allows you to carry one device instead of two, and that can be a big advantage. (That's actually why I originally got a smartphone -- I no longer wanted to carry around both a PDA and a phone.)

    • Dave P
      September 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      I agree with you. I did not understand the whole phablet thing at first, and really expect them to catch on. But if you want a tablet AND a phone then they make perfect sense.

      Do you ever actually hold it to your head to make calls though? That would just look weird.