Phablets, smartphones 5 to 7 inches in size, have become all the rage among smartphone makers.

And new research from IDC indicates the phablet market is really heating up. So much so that the phablet market has grown 18 per cent in a year, perhaps indicating Apple is lagging behind in not entering the 5-inch plus market while successful Android manufacturers have.

Specifically, phablet shipments accounted for 21 per cent of the smartphone market during Q3 2013, up from 3 per cent in Q3 2012. Samsung, Huawei, LG, HTC, and now Nokia, have all entered the larger screen market for customers looking for extra screen real estate. The phablet has often been mocked in mainstream media and by Apple, but the growth indicated by IDC's numbers show customer demand is there. The LG G2 and Galaxy Note 3 can be thanked for leading the growth.

Apple has been rumoured to be the next company to enter the market with a 5-inch smartphone, which would boost the phablet market share considerably. According to Bloomberg over the weekend, Apple is planning two smartphones, one at 4.7 inches and another at 5.5 inches, for 2014 - also set to have curved glass. "We believe the absence of a large-screen device may have contributed to Apple's inability to grow share in the third quarter," said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC. 

IDC's third-quarter research indicated 211.6 million smartphones were shipped during the quarter. Android jumped past 80 per cent market share for the first time, with the overall smartphone space grew 39.9 per cent year on year in the third quarter. Microsoft's Windows Phone grew 156.0 per cent year on year as it boosts device marketing and penetration into certain markets. iOS remains at 12.8 per cent, not making many moves in terms of market share during the third quarter.

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