Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 14.
So your phone has broken, or maybe it was stolen, and you want a replacement phablet - that's a large phone with a screen bigger than 5.5" - and you want it now. Bad news: your first choice won't happen. Not your second either.
Maybe the cause is the self-igniting Samsung Note 7 - which had been a highly touted phablet but Samsung now has pulled it out of the U.S. market due to many reports of fires. And that has sent literally millions of phablet buyers hunting for alternatives. A result: Apple is noting a three to four week delivery delay for an iPhone 7 Plus in rose gold with 256GB that is ordered online today. Go to Google Pixel XL and when attempting to order a 128GB Quite Black, Google sighs that it is "out of stock." Change to 32GB - a very small amount of onboard storage incidentally - and Google says it will be delivered in 5 to 6 weeks. Get the picture?
Very probably you cannot score an instant iPhone Plus (starting at $769) or a Pixel XL (also $769) to satisfy your jones and those, for most buyers, would loom as the top two phablet choices now. Maybe you can luck out and stumble into a retail outlet that actually has one in stock - but don't count on it.
Question: what other options do you have?
Might you just wait out Apple or Google and hope they ramp up production to meet the unexpected spike in demand? There is no timeline for when either will get there because never before has the industry dealt with the abrupt withdrawal of a market leader, as happened with the Note 7. The result has been lots of scrambling, by manufacturers, retailers, and also consumers.