HP To Release 'Phablet'-Sized Smartphone in India

Jan 15, 2014 02:17 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Hewlett-Packard is throwing a hat back in the ring as a maker of smartphones with a 6-inch hybrid the company calls a "voice tablet."

Especially popular in Asia and Europe, phone-tablet hybrids or "phablets" have been gaining market in the United States as well.

HP's new 6- and 7-inch devices are slated to launch exclusively in India next month, following the trend of consumers who want to streamline their devices, The Washington Post reported.

While HP hasn't announced plans to make the voice tablets available in the U.S., manufacturers have been noticing that consumers primarily use their phones to watch videos and surf online.

"Consumers are looking to consolidate their phones and tablets, which is propelling the voice tablet market," said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president of Consumer Personal Systems Group for HP, according to the Post.

The voice tablets, called Slate6 VoiceTab and Slate7 Voice Tab, have high-definition video capabilities and front-facing speakers and can take hi-def pictures.

Devices with bigger screens have been popular in Asia and Europe due to the long hours people who live there commonly spend on trains. Phablets appeal to buyers who want a tablet device but don't want to haul both a phone and tablet on long train commutes, the Post said.

Korea-based Samsung Electronics is rumored to be coming out with a phablet-style phone that is 5.25 inches, according to The Guardian.

The next Galaxy S5 phone will reportedly come in two versions, metal and plastic, and launch in March.

Samsung is looking to recover from a 6 percent drop in profits after sales of its smartphone slowed, and the top-end version of the new Galaxy S5 will reportedly have a phablet-sized screen and a 16-megapixel camera.

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