IN JANUARY 2014, phablets accounted for only 6 percent of used devices globally. However, by the end of that same year, phablet shipments in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region hit 12.6 million a year on year growth of 225 per cent.
Phablets continue to grow at a staggering pace for 2015, holding 22 percent of smartphone share in the region- a phenomenal rate. So why has this demand taken off and who is driving it?
In a country like Pakistan where consumers are keen to have competitively priced consumption devices, availability of plethora of screen sizes is an exciting proposition.
A recently conducted survey in the United States reveals that screen size was cited as the main reason for buying a particular phone by both iOS and Android buyers at 43 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively. As such, there has been a steady increase in smartphone screen size with each new release of the flagship model from each major smartphone brand over the last few years. All major smartphone manufacturers launched new phablets last year and in the first quarter of 2015, including Apple, Samsung, LG and Motorola, as well as Chinas Xiaomi and Huawei.
Fuelling this demand is the APJ region, where larger-screened smartphones are preferred. The conversion to phablet devices has been the most pronounced in mature APJ markets such as Korea (where phablets now account for 62 per cent of the overall smartphone market), Taiwan (42 per cent), Australia (38 per cent), and Japan (18per cent).
Intel® is at the heart of the innovation happening across APJ. Last year the company committed to investing US$100 million in the Intel Capital China Smart Device Fund, to help accelerate smart device innovation across 2 in 1s, tablets, smartphones, wearables, and IoT. Intel also announced the establishment of the Intel Smart Device Innovation Centre, in Shenzhen, China, which is responsible, deliver differentiated computing products and experiences, spanning multiple market segments, operating systems and price points.
However, the Asian influence looks set to extend globally with phablets accounting for 21per cent of US smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2015, up from 6per cent at the same quarter of last year.
This shift to a larger screen 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.
We are communicating very differently now, from voice and text to photos and video and phablets have accelerated the trend toward consumer time spent on visually-oriented social media and messaging apps. This trend is therefore creating something of a boom for mobile data providers, as owners of larger screen phones consume 44 per cent more data than those with smaller screen mobiles, on account of those larger devices being able to deliver a more satisfying viewing experience .
Larger-screen real estate encourages sustained on-the-go engagement on content rich social networks and apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. This has resulted in a rapid rise in the consumption of mobile video, with the APJ region alone accounting for aalmost 50 percent of the worlds mobile data traffic.
But the rise of the phablet and big screen tablets is not only about keeping ourselves entertained while on the move or at home.
According to Aicha Evans, corporate vice president and general manager of Intels Wireless Platform Research and Development Group., these and other mobile devices will help lead to advances in home automation, as well as further developments in areas such as the medical profession.
When it comes to mobile devices, Intel sees an increasing number of devices interacting with one another in the ecosystem from applications enabling smartphones to control the TV through to enhanced insight into healthcare.
As the screen size of smartphones increases, so too does the expectations of the user in terms of the performance of those devices. For instance, Citrixs recent Mobile Analytics report found that larger screen sizes lead to increased data usage. According to Evans, this presents a challenge as the next generation of devices need to cater to a greater demand for connectivity, improved imaging capabilities, longer battery life and a greater level of responsiveness.