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Fonblet? Phablets? We need a better name for large smartphones

January 19, 2013|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Huawei says its Ascend Mate has the largest screen of any smartphone, at 6.1 inches.
Huawei says its Ascend Mate has the largest screen of any smartphone, at… (David Paul Morris / Bloomberg…)

A rumor sprang up this week suggesting that Samsung would release a 5.8-inch smartphone in Europe that would be its biggest phone yet. The name of the device, however, leaves some of us scratching our heads.

Fonblet?

The term appears to be a combination of the phonetic sound of "phone" with the back end of the "tablet." But as silly as the name is, it raises the important question of what we should call these oversized devices.

Samsung kicked off the whole smartphone/tablet hybrid device trend in 2011 with the launch of the 5.3-inch-screen Galaxy Note. The South Korean giant continued to push the envelope last year with a 5.5-inch follow-up Galaxy Note II, but it wasn't alone. LG and HTC were among manufacturers to come out with 5-inch devices of their own in 2012.

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And while some say these massive phones are just a fad -- and should be called "fad-lets" -- they aren't going away anytime soon.

Earlier this month, even more companies joined the party at the Consumer Electronics Show. Among them were Lenovo, Vizio and Sony, with the 5-inch Xperia Z, its next flagship device. For now, the largest of these mammoths appears to be the Huawei Ascend Mate with its whopping 6.1-inch screen. It dwarfs the iPhone 5.

Analysts have been referring to the devices as "phablets," another combination of "phone" and "tablet." But the term has few fans. Just check out this tweet:

So what's a better name?

Someone suggested to me "giantones," but as descriptive as that is, it's almost as bad as "fonblet" and "phablets."

Another suggestion was "PT," which is simple and short for "Phone tablets."

Other suggestions that came in were from people that aren't fans of 5-inch phones. They included "bricks," "stupid" and "paperweights," which is about the most insulting term you can give to a piece of technology.

We at the Times would recommend calling them "tabphones." Sure, it's not super flashy but it's short, to the point, and descriptive.

But then again, we could just call them what they really are: "overcompensation."

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