2013 Must-Have Device: Smartphone? Tablet? Or Both?

Introducing the (Imaginary) KindlePhone

It is widely rumored that Amazon will enter the smartphone business this year. But they are late to the game so they have to do something really different in order to stand out. What if Amazon introduced a 4G LTE Kindle Fire 7-inch tablet with this companion hybrid phone for $299? Amazon could create a whole new market category with this idea. They can change the game.

Amazon can sell the SIM cards directly as part of a Prime Subscription and leave the Telcos out of the loop entirely. Amazon has clearly stated that they are not in the business of short term margins but rather, long term growth via selling Amazon’s services. This will expand the market for tablets and make the phone a commodity. At $299, the combo would cost the same as a 32GB iPhone5 without the need for that expensive two year contract.

But if not Amazon, it is rumored that Microsoft will come out with a phone this year. Will they follow the crowd or try something different? Also, Apple is having a tough time breaking into the Asian market. According to this article, Google and its partners have flooded the Asian market with cheap Android phones.  Apple could retake market share with a global “iPhone Nano.”

Parting Thoughts

Do you think, like I do, that a smartphone and a tablet are redundant? Does a hybrid phone make sense to you or do you need all your info all the time on whatever device you happen to be on? If so, would you consider paying full price for a smartphone and getting a prepaid account instead of the traditional two year contract?

As an alternative solution, have you checked out the Samsung Galaxy Note II? It is a “phablet” (phone+tablet hybrid) with a 5.5” screen. The Note III is due early this year and it is rumored to have a 6.3” screen. That sounds just about perfect to me (when it comes to smartphone screen size, to me, bigger is better) but I really think a phone and a tablet should be two separate devices (mostly because I want to outsmart the telcos and get a cheap prepaid phone and spend my cash on a 7″ tablet instead).

If you still aren’t convinced about prepaid mobile service (referred to as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, MVNO), here’s an excellent overview.

So until my imaginary hybrid phone comes out (if ever), I have an interim solution. As a companion to the excellent Nexus7 tablet, get the Nexus4 Android Phone by Google for a very reasonable $299 without contract (don’t rush to the Google Play store just yet…this phone has been consistently sold out since it was announced a few months ago).

Amazon will more likely release a Nexus4 killer than a brand new category like the *hybrid phone* I described above. In any event, Google’s pricing model must be giving every other phone manufacturer and Telco provider sleepless nights.

Nicely played, Google.


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5 thoughts on “2013 Must-Have Device: Smartphone? Tablet? Or Both?

  1. Interesting thoughts. I am more inclined to consider a large-screen phone before considering TWO separate devices. I like the idea of not having too much hardware on me…could shoot me to the top of the list for muggings. 😉 As for using an MVNO’s services – that’s definitely a route to take to avoid the TELCO “taxes” – a great idea!

    1. Raj, I love phablets. Have you heard the new Note III will be 6.3″? Honestly, I could almost do without a phone these days if I use a Google Nexus7. GoogleVoice rocks! Thanks for visiting!


      Asif Khan

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