This has gone too far. I was one of many people to cast serious doubt on Samsung (005930) when it birthed the phablet category with the Galaxy Note. The screen was gorgeous and the hardware was solid, but using this gargantuan handset as a phone looked and felt ridiculous. Then Samsung sold 10 million of them. Fair enough.
It was quite clear at that point in time that a market existed for supersized smartphones, and that market has grown as smartphones continue to get larger and larger. Phones that would have been considered giant just 18 months ago are now the norm, and dimensions continue to grow bigger with each passing iteration.
But now we’re just getting trolled.
Samsung unveiled a sleek new tablet over the weekend. The Galaxy Note 8.0 features a fantastic design at just the right size, and its S Pen support and “Premium Suite” of stylus-friendly apps add unique value for the user. The new Note 8.0 also includes an ear speaker and voice calling capabilities, which might be one of the most ridiculous things that will happen in the consumer electronics market this year.
(Image source: AndroidCentral)
Fast-forward to Monday morning when Asus (2357) took the wraps off a new mid-size tablet of its own. This new 7-inch slate is about the size of Google’s (GOOG) Nexus 7 and it features a great design, solid specs, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and an attractive $250 price tag. It also has an ear speaker and voice calling capabilities that are touted by Asus as one if the device’s core features.
And Asus’ trolling took a delightfully unexpected turn when the company revealed the device’s name — “Fonepad” — which is not to be confused with the company’s “PadFone.”
That’s right, Fonepad and PadFone.
Are vendors like Samsung and Asus just looking for a reaction from the media to carry coverage a bit further? Are they looking for shock among consumers to increase the amount of organic buzz and help separate these tablets from the pack?
They can’t think people will actually use these beastly devices as smartphones. Samsung even admitted as much: When asked by reporters why the company would include an ear speaker and voice calling on an 8-inch tablet, Samsung simply couldn’t offer an explanation.
Adding cellular connectivity to a tablet is a good thing. Adding voice calling to a tablet that utilizes a speakerphone function or a connected headset is a good thing. Adding an ear speaker to tablets and asking users to hold these monstrous slabs to the sides of their heads is just trolling.