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Mobile users embracing new device shapes

New, larger phones are changing patterns of mobile content consumption.

When dealing with developing mobile content, leaders have traditionally aimed their efforts at either the small screen of a smartphone or a large, high-definition tablet. However, these aren't the only options. Crossover computers combine the best features of tablets and notebooks, wearable devices sport small screens and can go to places even smartphones can't, and in between all of these other items are the phablets, part phone and part tablet. This last category may prove to be especially influential in the months ahead. In any case, it's clear that developing mobile content now relies on a number of new and interesting variables.

What are users excited about?
A recent Wall Street 24/7 report focused on research into which types of devices are selling. These statistics are important to media creators, as they speak volumes about how to format flexible mobile-capable websites and Web apps. According to the news source, Flurry Analytics detected that phablet use is on a massive upswing, faster than other types of hardware. This could have repercussions on both smaller phones and larger tablets, but the immediate takeaway is that individuals value having a large and media-friendly screen that comes along with them and serves as their primary communication channel.

The news provider explained that the Flurry survey broke down the applications responsible for increased phablet use. The list includes such items as digital magazines and more general media. This means that both entertaining and informational content is well-served by the increased screen size of a phablet compared to a normal phone, and perhaps a full-scale tablet screen isn't needed to enjoy these items. As for the other device types trailing in phablets' wake, Wall Street 24/7 reported small phones and big tablets are declining. Medium phones and smaller tablets are growing, but not at a rate that compares with the hybrid phablets.

The phablet insurrection is not coming from fringe players in the mobile space. The large distributors of hardware have thrown their efforts behind the development of these devices. The news provider cited the Samsung Galaxy Note and Apple iPhone 6 Plus as leading lights, meaning the battle between Galaxy and iPhone has been carried over into the new form factor. This should be reassuring for content providers preparing their materials for phablet use, as with the support of tech giants, the sector will probably be robust. The presence of both Android and iOS devices does mean, however, that it's vital to make sure content works with both operating systems.

Third parties
Of course, even developing for Android and iOS could be too narrow for content providers, further highlighting the use of languages that cross platform boundaries. PC World recently reported the unveiling of a Windows phablet, the Lumia 640XL. This device is large, with a 6-inch screen, and the news provider suggested it has been developed "for the masses" instead of meant for a select few. While the 640XL will not ship with the anticipated Windows 10 operating system, PC World indicated the device will probably be capable of undergoing an upgrade once 10 launches.

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