Phablets are so yesterday…

Large smartphones, otherwise known as phablets, are already a growing trend in Asia, having outshipped notebooks and tablets last year.

But IDC finds that now even larger devices, tablets of 7” screen sizes and above, are increasingly shipping with cellular voice capabilities, and such devices are getting more traction in the Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) region, breaching the 25% mark in the second quarter of 2014.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker report, about 13.8 million units of tablets were shipped in the APeJ region in Q2 2014, of which nearly 25% (around 3.5 million units) had voice calling over cellular networks as an option built-in to the device.

This translates to more than 60% growth on a year-on-year basis in unit terms for this category of tablets, which also incidentally happen to be 100% Android-based.

“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,” says Avinash K. Sundaram, Senior Market Analyst of Client Devices team at IDC Asia/Pacific.

That said, this segment has seen a surge in terms of both shipments and vendors since the beginning of this year, with shipments reaching close to 50% by share of overall markets in some emerging countries, India and Indonesia being two great examples.

“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,” Sundaram adds.

“It also helps that these devices are quite affordable, playing in the entry-to-mainstream price bands in most markets.”

IDC believes this trend shift will continue to gain momentum, as these devices are addressing a real consumer need – a single converged mobile device that is also a great value for money.

“For now, it does look like the Asian love for bigger screens is set to continue,” Sundaram concludes.

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