With the “Phablet,” Lenovo Jumps the Shark on Tech Device Designations

Look, I am a big fan of the portmanteau—that is, a word created by combining two other words, like “ginormous” (giant/gigantic + enormous) or “liger” (lion + tiger, which has the advantage of also being a literal animal portmanteau) or “turducken” (turkey + duck + chicken, which has the even greater advantage of being the most delicious meat portmanteau ever created). But Lenovo, the smartphone and mobile device manufacturer, has made a mockery of the once noble practice of portmanteaury with their new “phablet,” a new-ish device that combines a phone and a tablet.

So, Just A Big Phone?

Earlier this week, Lenovo launched a product line-wide refresh of its high tech devices, including the new Moto 360 smartwatch, which looks like a serious challenger to the stupid Apple Watch and another welcome distraction from tedious tasks like driving. Among other advantages over the Apple Watch, Moto 360s are run through UV coaters to give them moisture wicking and anti-fading properties.

Lenovo’s phablet—a word, for the record, that does not get red-lined as a typo by Microsoft Word, which makes me literally angry with rage—sports a 6.8-inch screen with full-HD display and a bunch of other fancy technical mumbo jumbo BS-crap. The device is called, unfortunately, the Phab Plus.

At left: Samsung Note 3, a phablet that's not stupid enough to call itself that.

At left: Samsung Note 3, a phablet that’s not stupid enough to call itself that.

The Phab Plus is not really the first phablet on the block. The Samsung Note has been around for a while, and is pretty much the definition of what a phablet is. However, Samsung was at least kind/smart enough to not use the word “phablet” to describe it. From what I recall, they basically marketed it as, “Hey, this is just kind of a bigger phone. Cool? Cool.”

“Phablet is an industry term that has been used for several years, but it has never been translated into consumer terminology,” said Jeff Meredith, GM of Lenovo’s tablet division. “We want to articulate the two-in-one nature of the product, and what better way than to take the direct combination.”

It should be noted that, because they can be used to make telephone calls, which ordinary tablets generally cannot do, phablets should not be considered “just kind of smaller tablets”. The phone function negates any claim to straight tabletness.

Photo credit: Janitors / Foter / CC BY

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