Wireless device makers believe the world is ready for more "phablets," the large-screen smartphones that some consumers opt for in lieu of a 7-inch tablet. "Users have realized that a nearly 5-inch-screen smartphone isn't such a cumbersome device," said analyst Joshua Flood of ABI Research. Hardware makers, such as ZTE and Huawei Technologies, have ratcheted up plans in the wake of Samsung Electronics' success with the Galaxy Note. Analysts said Samsung's new Galaxy Note II will likely help the South Korean company maintain its momentum through the first quarter.

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