Phablets made mince pie out of tablets this Christmas, survey finds

But its not all good news for Apple.

According to a new report by analytics firm, Flurry, more Android phablets were activated than any other sized Google-powered smartphones.

"Christmas is traditionally the biggest day of the year for new smart-device activations and app downloads, and 2015 was no exception, with new device activations and app installs shattering record after record", says Jarah Euston, VP of Growth at Flurry (pictured left). No doubt this is a huge number especially when you consider that it is just one manufacturer, but it seems that it is also a slight dip from the previous year where it accounted for more than half of devices activated at 51.3%. Second place went to Samsung with 19.8% of the activations while Xiaomi, LG and Nokia rounded out the top five.

Consumers are demonstrating stronger preference for larger smartphone models, as indicated by the jump in phablet demand.

The popularity of phablets was partly driven by the release of larger smartphones from Apple, which released its first phablet in September 2014 and followed up with the iPhone 6s Plus this year.

According to Flurry, phones with a screen smaller than 3.5 inches (eg most Blackberry devices) were practically extinct. Exactly half of Android activations this Christmas season were phablets, while tablets only accounted for 12 percent of devices.

However during that same time-frame, full-sized tablets have dropped in popularity, now accounting for a meagre nine per cent of activations in 2015.

All of which means that big phones are anything but a fad and that Samsung deserves credit for singlehandedly creating the category.

The count for Nokia/Lumia is small consolation for Microsoft, but the two percentage points were enough to prevent Android from taking over iOS in the stakes of operating systems, giving Apple yet another victory at Christmas. That largely came at the cost of share from medium phones and small tablets. For comparison, phablets accounted for just four percent of devices distributed in 2013.

More than a quarter of device activations were phablets, twice as many as previous year. Install rate on December 25 was 120% higher than the rest of the month, although it was worth noting that 12 months ago 2.5 apps were installed compared to 2.2 this year-a drop of 30%.

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