It’s no secret that smartphone users have been migrating to handsets with larger and larger displays: what once were “phablets” are now just run-of-the-mill flagship phones, and we’ve seen the rise of a new class of devices in the six-inch-plus space that marry tablet-sized hardware with voice call support – something traditionally absent from full-fledged tablets. But ever since models like the ASUS Fonepad started making headway on the market, there’s been renewed interest in the idea of such voice-capable tablets. While the appeal of this kind of hardware is still tricky for some users to wrap their heads around, the sales figures don’t lie, and we appear to be in the middle of a big upswing in popularity for tablets you can make phone calls with.
At least, that’s what the analysts at IDC are seeing happen in Asia. Looking at devices with screens seven inches or larger, which are also capable of making voice calls, shipments were relatively stable going back about the past year or so, accounting for around 15 percent of the market. The latest Q2 2014 data reveals some significant growth, shooting up to more like 25 percent.
The figure is even higher when we narrow-down the scope to individual nations; IDC names India and Indonesia as two where close to half of all tablet sales are these voice-enabled models.
None of this is to say that owners are actually taking advantage of this functionality on a regular basis, but it seems clear that the hardware is becoming popular enough that we’ll be getting a lot more voice-capable tablets in the future.