Would you hold your iPad up to your face to make a phone call?

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, in a statement.

More users in Asia now hold tablets to their faces to make calls, IDC reports
More users in Asia now hold tablets to their faces to make calls, IDC reports
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. It also helps that these devices are quite affordable, playing in the entry-to-mainstream price bands in most markets,” Sundaram adds.

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.


Note: IDC defines devices with screen-sizes 7” and above as tablets, while those below 7” as mobile phones.

Source: IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve updated our poll to ask, “Would you hold your iPad up to your face to make a phone call?”

57 Comments

    1. The other consequence (of going ultra-large) is the need to carry something to carry the smartphone, like a handbag or backpack. And then, you need to “unpack it” out of wherever it is being carried to use it. Current (and earlier) iPhones equal better usability and convenience.

    1. If you don’t want to disturb people around you, how about going to a nice, quiet room by yourself?

      We THANK YOU for not having to listen to 1 side of a conversation.

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  1. No, but there are times when I could be using a headset while looking at my iPad mini.

    I would still want a reasonable size phone when it’s the only device I’m carrying.

    Different device sizes for different uses.

    1. I have several bluetooth earpieces, but have been using a corded headset more this year as Bluetooth eats up the battery quicker. They work just fine with Skype or normal telephony.

  2. No one will stick an iPad to their ear to make a phone call but they would be very happy to make a phone call with it via the same Apple ear buds or BT ear piece they use with their phones today.

    People use the phone as a phone less and less as text messages and email are the normal communication methods most people use. Phone calls are still necessary though.

    Adding phone capability to the iPad mini would certainly boost their popularity.

  3. My first thought is that this is exactly how we got the Surface: certain people’s insistence that one device support all use cases, rather than different devices optimized for different circumstances.

    But I can see the benefit of being able to field phone calls with your pad: just not through the ridiculous in each of holding it up to your head. That’s why one of the biggest features about the new OS is that I’m waiting for is Continuity. I think it would be great for my iPhone to ring on the charger and for me to take the call on my iPad in hand. It’s not because I want one device to serve all purposes, it’s that I can use one device instead of the other as convenient.

    (I’m not going to hold up my pad in front of my face for a 20 minute FaceTime call, but then I wouldn’t do that from my phone either. Audio only is sufficient, either over the speaker phone or with the earbuds.)

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