Samsung leads the pack this time as reports emerged that rivals of the Asian tech giant have decided to counter the success of its Galaxy Note phablet, already on a second iteration that further stretched the device's screen size, with of courses more potent specs.
According to TechHive, the newly-refreshed Note, which Samsung has deployed with a 5.5-inch screen (with Super AMOLED display technology) and quad-core Cortex A9 processor (at 1.6GHz), has so far racked up around three million units in total sales following its September 2012 debut.
The numbers indeed were enough testaments to spur other vendors to take a bite on the phablet segment, which some experts had initially dismissed as a 'limbo' that Samsung awkwardly created. It appears now that the company is raking in good money, positive consumer reactions and the belated nods from experts so it's only logical that similar products would come out.
And HTC quickly squeezed in the J Butterfly, which in the North American region will be known as the HTC Droid DNA, that should start rolling out by mid-November. Like the Note 2, its hardware specs are powerful enough to warrant second look as HTC made sure that the 1080p display (seems the phablet standard now) is matched by an 8MP camera sensor plus sufficient processing muscle (1.5Ghz) to fire up its overall operations.
The screen size (5-inch) and battery power, however, would leave the J Butterfly or Droid DNA eating dust from the Note 2, with experts singling out the latter's generous front real estate and the energy juice it delivers as hard to beat come-ons.
Another South Korean firm, LG, issued the Intuition, which essentially mimics the functions and features of phablets it aims to compete with. One review said the unit is decent enough and delivers on expectations with would-be buyers likely to employ the gadget as a second unit, that is if they have the extra cash or they would learn to love the phablet's design.
The Intuition could win over some love because it definitely performs, experts said, but first test drivers need to look beyond the gadget's design. The look-factor, early reviewers said, seemed completely ignored by LG enginners in so far as this product is concerned.
Its sibling, the LG Optimus Vu, appears to suffer from the same malady, that reminds experts of the squared PDA that was the rage when mobile phones and smartphones have yet to assert their superiority.
So consumers raring to venture out of the phablet sphere created by Samsung but turned off by similar Android hybrid of smartphone and tablet may want to wait out for a Windows-powered phablet, which BGR News said will be released by Chinese tech giant ZTE.
As expected, ZTE would want to exceed what the rivals can offer and its phablet, BGR said, would likely be revved up in all aspects possible - higher screen resolution (though to be limited by the Windows Phone 8) and break-neck processing speed, with all the bangs and glorious features of the toy to be beamed out on a 5.9-inch screen.
"We want to come up with the next generation of a Galaxy Note-type product ... a combo product of handsets and tablets," Reuters reported ZTE mobile strategy chief Lu Qian Hao as saying in a press briefing earlier this year.
The likelihood is ZTE's entry into the phablet will commence this holiday season, which means the device will hit global markets anytime soon.
Also likely to join the fray are Sony and Sharp though details available on the two firms' planned handsets remain sketchy at moment but speculations on the specs were already circulating on numerous tech blog sites.
The only sure thing about the phablet world at the moment, analysts said, is it will become more exciting in the months and quarters ahead. Samsung's gambit appears to be paying off.
To contact the editor, e-mail: