Opinion

The True Phablet: Samsung’s Project Valley foldable smartphone will make the phablet complete

The “phablet,” or a compound word of “phone” and “tablet,” is one word that you may wish never entered into the human language. Some think it sounds too close to “phlebitis,” or “phabulous” (yes, I spelled it like this intentionally), or some other word that sounds like a sickness, a disease, or a stomach virus gone wrong. Regardless of your feelings or thoughts about the word, it’s been coined by none other than Samsung, and it’s here to stay.

The word “phablet” refers to large-screened smartphones (about 5 inches across or more) that can be utilized as both a smartphone and a tablet. Samsung’s original Galaxy Note was the first smartphone to break out of the 3.5 and 4-inch smartphone mold the market had popularized and take the viewing experience one step further. From that point on, Samsung has continued to make the Galaxy Note lineup bigger and better with each new model, although the Korean manufacturer has settled on 5.7-inch displays in its Note series since the Galaxy Note 3. While the “phablet,” the ginormous smartphones of our day, have 5+-inch screens however, the current screen sizes of smartphones such as the Galaxy Note 5, iPhone 6s Plus, Huawei Nexus 6P, and even LG’s newest V10 smartphone still leave much to be desired. Let me explain.

For many, 5.7-inch displays are too close to “tablet” territory, and many consumers won’t buy any smartphone with a display size above 5 inches (or even 5.5 inches, for that matter). For some, though, while watching movies and TV shows are possible and easy to do on a 5.7-inch screen, using Samsung’s Multi-Window Mode, or playing Android games are still a challenge. With my own monstrous hands, I cover half the display when I play FIFA soccer – and the characters on the field aren’t as up-close and detailed as when I play the same game on a 10-inch tablet, for example. So, for the web browser consumer, music listener, camera shooter, and Netflix binger, a 5.7-inch display may do everything and then some, but some gamers who like playing games on larger screens will find 5.7-inch smartphones to still lack enough real estate for serious gaming. Of course, smartphones aren’t tablets, right? Even though Samsung has blazed the trail with this new category, even the Korean manufacturer knows that “phablets” aren’t in their truest expression currently.

This is a large part of the excitement behind Samsung’s new Project Valley foldable smartphone. From what we know, the Project Valley undertaking seeks to create a foldable smartphone (yes, one with a flexible display that can fold over, we’re told), and it’s got some tech enthusiasts drooling. Flexible displays have debuted with the Gear S (2014), the Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6 edge+ this year, and hopefully, on Samsung’s own tablet lineup in the future; and yet, this new product will have an unashamedly “flexible” display for your enjoyment and entertainment, all the time.

foldable-patent

Not only will the Project Valley foldable smartphone have a flexible display (which we’ve gotten a glimpse of in current Samsung products), but there’s another benefit to this smartphone that you may not have realized: it will be the true phablet, the most complete expression of the Samsung-coined word we’ve ever seen (or ever will, for that matter). Most phablets today are still essentially phones (although large ones), and what they possess in phone capabilities they lack in tablet potential. The new Project Valley foldable smartphone will let you use a phone screen size when you need it, only to open it to a “tablet” form factor when you need it. Want to watch games or movies on a bigger screen? Open it. Want to make a phone call or sit it aside in a compact manner? Close it. It will be a “Galaxy Compact” (yes, I’m borrowing Sony’s own “Compact” label here) when you need it, and a Galaxy tablet when you need it.

The Project Valley foldable smartphone will provide the true phone/tablet hybrid whose name (“phablet”) has been in existence for some time now. This time around, though, Samsung will finally bring to fruition what the true phablet should be. The phablet will be “reimagined, redesigned, and redefined”: no longer just a “tablet-like phone” but instead, a “phone and tablet in their full forms without any compromises.” The Project Valley foldable smartphone will be the one phablet to rule them all. Prepare to have your personal tablet collection shrink (or expand, depending on perspective) in 2016.

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