I was right: Phablets are taking over the world!

IDC's latest mobile market share research shows big Android gains. Can you guess the reason?

I was right. Phablets are taking over the world! IDC's latest mobile market share research shows big Android gains. Can you guess the reason?

The latest smartphone research from IDC shows significant market share gains for Android in the third quarter of 2013, with Windows Phone also making gains even as Apple's iPhone lost market share.

Network World's Jon Gold runs down the numbers and addresses the impact of Samsung's dominance. But I was struck by the reason for Apple's troubles cited in Matt Hamblen's ComputerWorld story: Apple doesn't have a phablet!

IDC says size matters

"We believe the absence of a large-screen device may have contributed to Apple's inability to grow share in the third quarter," said Ryan Reith, an IDC analyst, in a statement. "It would help for Apple to have a larger phone, since they are popular in some hot markets where Apple wants to be, including North America, Europe and China," said Ramon Llamas, another IDC analyst, in an interview. "When you put all things together, there's an opportunity that Apple's not in right now and that other vendors are offering, like Samsung and now Nokia."

Loyal readers may recall that last month I proclaimed that Phablets are the phuture, so I have to admit some satisfaction in these numbers.

The iPhone 5S isn't big enough

Sure, these are third-quarter figures that take into account only about a week of sales of the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C models. So Apple's share is likely to rebound in the fourth quarter. But the idea of Android riding phablets to 81% global smartphone market share is still pretty impressive. And it's likely to put further pressure on Apple to come up with models with screens bigger than the 4-inch displays used by all current iPhones.

As I noted last month, if Apple wants to keep me as a smartphone customer, it had better find a way to go big with the next version of the iPhone, expected out next year. I am simply not going to buy another smartphone with a measly 4-inch screen. And IDC's numbers make it clear that I'm far from the only one who feels this way.

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