Smartphones are big, literally, and they’re only getting bigger in 2013. According to new estimates released by market research firm ABI Research, the “phablet avalanche” will continue in 2013 as shipments nearly double to 150 million units. The emerging category grew 4,504% in 2012 to reach roughly 83 million units, according to the firm.

“Over the course of 2012, consumer perceptions have changed,” ABI analyst Joshua Flood noted. “In my opinion, one of the biggest influencers was the release of Samsung’s (005930) Galaxy S III smartphone. This device had a significant 4.8 inch touchscreen. Using the Galaxy S III made people realize that a larger device would be less cumbersome to handle and add significantly to the user experience of the device.”

Flood goes on to call 2013 “the year of the phablet,” and he speculates that “all the major mobile OEMs” will launch phablet models this year.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.