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Phablet phase won't last, says analytics firm

Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 phablet topped 5 million in sales after just two months on the market, but mobile analytics company Flurry thinks phablets are just a fad.

According to a report from the firm, mid-sized smartphones - or those that range in screen size from 3.5in to 4.9in - dominate the mobile device space.

In February 2013, about 16 per cent of mobile gadget owners were carrying a small phone, or one that had a 3.5in screen or smaller. About 69 per cent had a mid-sized smartphone, 2 per cent had a phablet (5in to 6.9in), 6 per cent had a small tablet (7-8.4in), and 7 per cent had a full-size tablet (8.5in and above).

While the oversized phablets are still in the early stages, Flurry predicted that they won't last long enough to really compete with smartphones or tablets.

"The 'is it a phone or is it a tablet' devices otherwise known as phablets have attracted interest, but currently command a relatively small share of the device installed base, and their share of active users and sessions is also relatively small," the report said.

Phablets are an Android game, though. At this point, the devices with 5- to 6.9in screens are Android-based; Apple's iPhone tops out at 4in, while the iPad mini lands at 7.9in.

Developers need to stay focused on devices that are most accepted and used by consumers — i.e. not phablets. Flurry's study pointed out that consumers prefer and use apps on medium-sized smartphones, like the earlier Samsung Galaxy lineup, and full-sized tablets like the iPad.

"Phablets appear to make up an insignificant part of the device installed base," Flurry said, "and do not show disproportionally high enough app usage to justify support."

That could change in the coming months, as Samsung's 5in Galaxy S4 smartphone rolls out globally.