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Finally! A full-featured 'phablet'

Mike Elgan | July 1, 2013
The secret that realizes the promise of 'phablet' computing is — wait for it — wearable computing!

If you're a business person, the light and tiny SBH52 is black and professional looking and clips discreetly into an inside coat pocket while the phablet is tucked away in a briefcase or purse. But when it comes time to pitch, the Xperia Z Ultra's screen is big enough to present slides to a client.

Sony's SmartWatch2 enables you to do many of the quick-and-dirty communication and entertainment tasks of a phone, without taking your giant "phablet" out.

Sony has not announced the price of the SBH52 or a specific ship date, but it's expected to come out by September. (Some rumor and speculation suggests that Sony may bundle the SBH52 in free with the Xperia Z Ultra.)

Sony's other wearable 'phablet' accessory
Sony also announced this week the forthcoming release of an upgrade for their smartwatch.

Called the Sony SmartWatch 2, Sony bills its newest wearable computing gadget as "a second screen for your Android smartphone."

While it works with any Android phone, it's especially useful for phablets.

Itself an Android device, the SmartWatch 2 not only runs apps but pairs with a phone or phablet.

When someone calls the giant phablet in your backpack, the watch alerts you and tells you who's calling.

You can also play and control music, play games and check incoming texts and social messages.

Like the Bluetooth accessory, the SmartWatch 2 looks business-professional and supports NFC and pairs with a tap.

It's also water- and dust-proof, according to Sony.

I highlight the Sony solutions not because I think everyone should go out and buy them. This is not a review, and I cannot vouch for these devices' quality or desirability. My focus is about Sony's vision for phablet computing, which I think is the right vision.

Other companies can do this, too. Or users can combine phablets with wearable computing for an improved mobile experience by mixing and matching components from different companies.

The advantage: Increased portability. You're ready to do anything a phone or a tablet can do, and you can do it quickly, conveniently and from anywhere — a restaurant, while walking down the street or, in the case of Sony's solution, while splashing around in the water.

Wearable computing does not need phablet computing — a smartphone is a perfectly good base for wearable.

But here's the revelation that hardly anyone except Sony seems to understand: Phablets need wearable devices to make them powerful, viable and mainstream, as well as acceptable in business.

I think phablets plus wearable is going to take mobility to a whole new level.

 

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