Microsoft promotes ‘phablets’ after smartphone, tablet flops

“Microsoft Corp. unveiled Windows Phone software for smartphone-tablet hybrids as well as more powerful chips as the company plays catchup to Google Inc. and Apple Inc. in mobile devices,” Dina Bass reports for Bloomberg.

“A bigger start menu with higher-resolution displays will enable the software to run on phones with five- and six-inch screens for the first time, Microsoft said today in a blog post,” Bass reports. “The update to Windows Phone 8 will roll out to developers tomorrow and customers in the coming months.”

“After losing out in smartphones and tablets to Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS software, Microsoft is trying to appeal to consumers in the middle,” Bass reports. “Global shipments of so-called phablets will more than double to 60.4 million this year, research firm IHS predicted in January. That’s a fraction of the more than 1 billion smartphones researcher IDC expects to be shipped.”

Read more in the full article here.

31 Comments

  1. Phabulus, just a phabulus Phablet strategy.

    MS is literally 10 years late to the mobile hardware market. I simply do not think the low end mfgrs or Apple are going to give an inch of ground.

    1. It would not be wise to underestimate Microsoft. While indeed its mobile devices reek of that pestilence of Windows 8, MS prints money from its near-monopoly on enterprise computing. MS has a sizeable cash pile left over from its discounted purchase of Nokia to easily pick up the mobile assets of HTC or Blackberry or Sony.

      By now Apple should understand that it doesn’t matter if MS can’t compete on its own. It will just buy its way into market leadership by acquiring the competition.

      … and furthermore, Apple has largely lost its lead in mobile. The copycats have taken what they wanted and are now delivering inferior products at significantly lower prices to world markets that Apple refuses to serve. That might be fine in the short term, but long term, Apple must maintain a sizeable chunk of the market to retain the choicest 3rd party app developers. Most of the iTunes store is now garbage games, almost all ported to Android as well. So as mature smartphone markets saturate over the next decade, Apple will definitely find MS-Nokia a fierce competitor in emerging growth markets.

      …. and as a final note, iOS7 looks almost as cheesy as Win8.

      1. I do not agree. In the aviation market, there is only ONE tablet – iPad. From private pilots up to commercial operations, no one is even considering pother devices.

        Id’ wager other high-value industries won’t go cheap either. Medical, field sales optimization, luxury hospitality come to mind.

        Apple leads through focus. Identify the best customers, sell deep.

          1. Yeah, there’s an article about it around here somewhere. The MDN and reader comments are hilarious. Oh, here it is:

            Delta pilots fought hard against deal to replace iPad flight bags with Microsoft Surface

            Delta pilots fought hard against deal to replace iPad flight bags with Microsoft Surface

            KingMel: “Control, I just turned on final and my Windows #$^%@#$% tablet went BSOD! Did I see a wind shear warning for runway 210? Wait! It’s working again! No…now it is stuck looking for a Skype connection. How do you CNTL-ALT-DELETE this thing?!”

            AtlantaX: The official place to send Delta a comment is at the top right of the screen on delta.com. It says “Comment / Complaint” and it goes right to customer service for their reply within 24 hours. I usually hear back from them in 8 hours.

          2. FS You forgot the rest of the story – Pilots were enraged and demanded the iPad but Delta had other business connections with MS and were leveraged intensely to take the Surface.
            Look for them going with the iPad within six months.
            The surfaces will be used as wheel chocks!

        1. I guess you missed the story s few weeks back about, how Delta signed a deal with Microsoft, and all their pilots are switching to Surface devices? Sad, but true.

          Microsoft made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, my guess, free.

      2. Dear Mike,

        I guess its easy to just make up numbers and “facts” to support your ramblings. And I guess I should join the others who just ignore you. OK I will after this post.

        Android “free” buyers do not pay for product and Apple buyers do. That is why developers develop for Apple first and sometimes only… Cheap people are cheap.

        MS-Nokia is not a fierce competitor. Microsoft almost totally killed Nokia and now is buying them up for a song.

        And as far as Microsoft buying its way into anything valuable, I can see you do not understand economics. Microsoft is dumping billions upon billions upon billions of dollars down the drain: 5 billion for its failed advert adventure, 1 billion for its failed surface, ?? billion for Kin one and two, Zune, plays for sure, MS watch, on and on. And with less computers being sold and more moving to android or chrome, that means even less future money for wasting.

        Mike, Please consider giving up this dangerous fantasy of yours. Just saying.

        1. @ eldernorm:

          What facts have you brought to the table?

          “Android … buyers do not pay for product”. Please explain, then, how Samsung sales more than doubled last year. Or why Nokia, despite intentionally being driven into the ground by a corporate raider setting them up for takeover, reported net sales of 30.1 billion euros in 2012? Do all the Android app developers — who, coincidentally, are also iOS developers — just port their apps for charity?

          “I can see you do not understand economics”. No, I don’t believe you can see squat. MS has ALWAYS bought market share via acquisition. No corporation, even MS, acquires companies without expectation of return on investment. How stupid do you think we are here?

          1. When eldernorm said Android users “do not pay for product”, he’s referring to buying apps, not buying the phones themselves. And it’s true — Apple users are more willing to pay for apps than Android users. You can search the archives on this site if you don’t believe me. Another thing you’ll find in that search is that iOS usage share, i.e. the amount of mobile internet traffic originating from iOS, blows Android out of the water. Those two facts together are why developers make iOS apps first, just as eldernorm said.

            Really Mike, I don’t get you. You’re not an average troll — trolls don’t write posts as long as yours. But every post of yours is just spreading doom and gloom and urinating on every parade that comes by. You must be one miserable Apple user. I don’t think I have once seen you post enthusiastically about any Apple product or development. If you’re so unhappy and pessimistic about the future, isn’t it time to jump ship?

            ——RM

      3. You’re right, if only because they can throw so much money at a problem that it doesn’t matter if their answer to whatever works all that well, as long as they can throw cash at it till it does.

        I suspect that they will not have this luxury too much longer though.

    2. Microsoft have had tablets for over 20 years (unsure who manufactured them), and smartphones for over 10 years manufactured by HTC. The problem for M$ is making products people actually want to buy. Something other manufacturers, especially Apple have managed to do. When they’re first tablet came out, I always thought it was a big mistake putting a full version of Windows (3.1) on it.

  2. Realizing he had only weeks remaining left to bring the company to i’t knees, Ballmer T McClown implements an aggressive strategy introducing windows phoblets.
    He was quoted as saying ” I like our strategy, I like it a lot”

  3. They still have the old paradigm attitude: “Make it fast, throw it over the fence to the public and we call mistakes “features” and we will correct the mistakes later.”

    Sorry MS, the general public doesn’t wants to be your beta tester anymore. They want fully working OSes and hardware from the beginning.

  4. Microsoft’s only recourse is to go where Apple will not go. So, there are monstrous 55-inch touchscreen Windows 8 stationary “tablets” in the Fox News sound stage, used by actors waving their arms around in the background, pretending to do actual “news” work.

    And now there are these Windows Phone 8 “phablets” that are too small to be usable tablets, and too big to be usable phones. And since they run Windows Phone 8, they will be even less popular than the Surface tablets running Windows RT.

  5. I’m picturing Microsoft’s marketing division shooting a big ass blunderbuss. The things were never meant to be accurate. They simply blew a lot of shot out the barrel in hopes of hitting something/anything.

    I call it ‘Desperation Marketing’.

    A: “Which strand of spaghetti will stick to the wall?”

    B: “Who cares. We’ve got money to burn!”

    Excellent.
    Spend Microsoft! Spend SPEND SPEND!

  6. Apple should not cede the “Phablet” market. There is an audience for the 5 inch to 5.5 inch devices. A lot of people like portable internet with extreme portability. Aka something even smaller than an Ipad mini. The sales don’t lie on this stat. Apple could sell 15-20 million of these devices. Makes no sense in allowing Samsung to own this area. Do the right thing Tim, Craig, Jony make a Iphone X

    1. Most estimates conservatively put the entire market for fablets at around 20-25 million units/year worldwide.
      To sell that many apple would have to take the entire market, is that reasonable, (particularly considering it’s likely half the existing phoblet are apple haters)
      Yes apple would likely sell some to people who bought an iphone but would have preferred a phoblet, but even given those additional units it isn’t certain they could even move 10 million units per year.
      They sold nearly that many iPhones on launch weekend.

      1. Not really. They just need their “Phablets” to be highly profitable which I imagine they would be. I would look at these as MacPro 15 inch notebooks. They exist for a group of buyers but that isn’t the bulk of sales. The space is showing growth so while only at 25 million now that has grown from the original 1-2 million a Galaxy Note started at. Just saying.

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