The mobile gadget world, like its non-mobile antecedents, is filled with silly names for devices and device categories. So is the Internet. (Remember when we started dropping vowels all over the place?) Some resonate and become part of the lingo. Some do with a begrudging nod to the fact that there is nothing better. Some define categories and take on the power of brands. Some have derision and scorn heaped upon them when first announced, but later become universally accepted. (Can you say iPad?) Some just sound silly. And even in those cases some stick. Here’s one I hope doesn’t: Fonblet.
Now, quick before reading the rest of this post do you know what Fonblet means? Well if you guessed that it was the name that Samsung is pushing for its next generation of large smartphones you would be right. What we’ve become accustomed to calling a Phablet is now going to be a Fonblet. I blanched at Phablet when it first started to catch on as the name for smartphones that were so large they looked like small Tablets. I still do, although I’ve been lulled into acquiescence as it unfortunately became a quick shortcut for describing what many in the English speaking world would call a large smartphone.
But, Samsung seems to feel the need to shift our attention away form Phablets to Fonblets when it comes to hits plans for 2014. At least I hope it is trying to shift our attention. Can you imagine the media and bloggers trying to distinguish between a Phablet and a Fonblet?
So, what is a Fonblet? Snidley Snark would call it a large smartphone or a Phablet. But by Samsung’s definition it is a large smartphone that features handwriting recognition and a stylus. Wait. What? Isn’t that what the Galaxy Note 3 is? You would be correct, sir or madam.
But Fonblet already has a brief history with Samsung. At the beginning of this year Samsung was touting a Fonblet for the European market that looks very much like the Galaxy Note line. The difference? That Galaxy Fonblet 5.8 contained two SIM slots. It was never released.
So, we’re moving from Phablets to Fonblets. It looks French on the page and makes me want to pronounce it as “phone bleh,” but Samsung’s hardware usually deserves better than a “bleh” response.
This all came about at Samsung’s analyst day in South Korea yesterday where Samsung announced that it was going to continue the march to higher pixel density screens that will also bring us a new acronym to learn and mistype: WQHD. WQHD will have a resolution of 2650 x 1440. In other words, we will be reaching the point where most human eyes on the planet can’t notice on a smartphone screen of a Phablet/Fonblet/large smartphone.
Also of note coming out of the conference, Samsung talked large Tablets and foldable screens for smartphones. And, Samsung CEO JK Shin said that Samsung needs to rethink how it does software and do it better. I think I’d rather Samsung focus on that aspect of its business than trying to come up with new device category names.