Is Samsung's 7-inch phone the shape of things to come?

The Samsung Galaxy W. (Samsung Korea)

The Samsung Galaxy W. (Samsung Korea)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

The Galaxy W is so large that it makes most phablets look small and manageable in comparison, but growing demand for bigger mobile handsets that combine handset and tablet functionality in one reasonably priced device suggests that XXL-sized smartphones could soon be a common sight.

Announced Monday and officially going on sale in Korea on Tuesday, the Galaxy W has a 7-inch 720p display and if it wasn't for the fact that the chassis is thin enough to allow the device to be held up to the ear with one hand, it would be classed as a tablet.

And although it's big on size, it isn't equally large in terms of specifications: as well as a not quite true HD screen, the phone packs a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and just 16 GB of on-board storage (although it does accept microSD cards too) and has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Yet, when it goes on sale this week it will cost nearly $500 off-contract in South Korea.

Unlike in the Asia Pacific region where phablets are being embraced wholeheartedly -- 43% of all phones with a display of 5 inches or greater are shipped to the region -- bigger phones are still very niche in the U.S. and Europe.

With the notable exception of the Samsung Galaxy Note series of phablets, they have failed to take off -- largely because consumers have enough disposable income to own both a smartphone and a tablet.

However, a recent filing with the FCC detailing Samsung's Galaxy W handset suggests that it will be attempting to bring the huge phablet to U.S. shores.

If that's the case, the timing is perfect. In the US, the iPhone is the most popular smartphone handset and what constitutes a 'perfect' smartphone screen size is determined by what Apple dictates. However, this year the company is widely tipped to launch not one, but two new iPhones, one with a 4.4-inch screen and one with a 5.5-inch or 6-inch display. Doing so would make phablets more acceptable in that area.


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