When the first phablets or tablets appeared, I giggled at the idea of calling someone from such a “supersized” phone. But it seems that times have changed, and according to a fresh report coming from the reputed analytics firm IDC, more users in Asia now hold tablets to their faces to make calls. IDC also reports that phablets’ growth has apparently reached a plateau.
Tablets of 7 inch screen sizes and above, are increasingly shipping with cellular voice capabilities, getting more traction in the Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan. Around 13.8 million units of tablets were shipped in the above mentioned region in Q2 2014, of which nearly 25%, which means around 3.5 million units had the voice calling feature.
This means that a growth of more than 60% on a year-on-year basis has been registered. Avinash K. Sundaram, Senior Market Analyst of Client Devices team at IDC Asia/Pacific, mentioned the following.
Tablets that allow voice calls over cell networks have been around for a while now, as the first generation of Samsung Tabs did have that option, albeit only activated through a Bluetooth headset. This shift highlights the sustained interest among consumers, at least in emerging markets, to have a single mobile device for all their needs – be it watching movies and soap operas, taking pictures, texting or making calls, even if the device has a huge 7” screen on it. It also helps that these devices are quite affordable, playing in the entry-to-mainstream price bands in most markets
However, you should take into account that the report only mentions how many tablets with the voice calling feature have been shipped, but we can’t know for sure how many are actually using this feature or how often. So, this report only reports on the state of such tablets and only covers certain areas in Asia.
What we’re seeing now is mainly thanks to the popularity of phablets, which have lead consumers to accept the concept making calls from big-screened phones. Well, at least some of them, as I personally am not yet a big fan of the idea, and probably will never be. But we can’t ignore the fact that data plans for tablets have become more affordable along the years, and data allotments have considerably enlarged, as well.
This will leave many of us wondering – could the consumer acceptance of big screen phones lead to increase in camera usage among tablets owners? I guess we’ll just have to wait for another report from IDC to confirm or deny that.