Nimish SawantAug 21, 2014 12:50:36 IST
Asia has been an important market for large screen smartphones, popularly called phablets. But according to an IDC report, tablets with a 7-inch screen size or more, with voice calling capability, are gaining more traction as compared to phablets. In the second quarter of 2014, the voice-calling enabled tablet shipments crossed the 25 percent mark (of total tablets sold) in the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) region.
According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker report, the total number of tablets sold in Q2 2014 in APeJ was 13.8 million. Of this, around 3.5 million tablets had voice calling functionality. This accounts to 25 per cent of the total tablet share. In Q1 2014, just under 2.4 million tablets with voice calling were sold, which accounted for around 16 per cent of total tablets sold in Q1 2014. The Q2 2014 rise is particularly interesting when you see the Q4 2013 numbers - around 1.8 million tablets with voice calling sold amounting to 12 per cent of total tablet sales. So there's been a steady increase in this segment.
Tablets with voice calling function have been around since the first generation of Samsung tablets. But the surge in shipments over the last couple of quarters is pointing to a clear trend. A lot of vendors are putting the voice calling option on the tablet. According to IDC, the demand for voice-calling supported tablets is particularly high in emerging markets such as India and Indonesia. According to shipment numbers, almost 50 per cent share of all tablets sold in these regions have voice calling.
“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-inch screen on it. It also helps that these devices are quite affordable, playing in the entry-to-mainstream price bands in most markets,” says Avinash K Sundaram, senior market analyst of Client Devices team at IDC Asia/Pacific.
According to IDC, this growing trend is bound to carry on in the future, as it provides a good value proposition to the Asian users. Will the voice-calling enabled tablets save the dropping overall tablet sales? Only time will tell. In the meantime, get rid of that smirk on your face every time you see someone on the street using a tablet as a phone. You may see it far more often now.
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