Asian consumers take tablets for voice connectivity

Asian consumers take tablets for voice connectivity

21 AUG 2014

Consumers in Asia Pacific are showing no reluctance to using large-format devices to make voice calls. In fact, they increasingly are falling in love with bigger screens – particularly tablets that are at the same time gaining voice capability and shrinking below 10 inches.

A quarter of tablet shipments in Q2 in the region (excluding Japan) were voice-ready models – that’s up from 15 per cent a year ago, according to IDC.

IDC said regional shipments of tablets (screen sizes of 7 inches or more) hit 13.8 million units in the quarter. The 3.5 million units that had voice calling over cellular networks as an option built-in to the device represented 60 per cent growth year-on-year in unit terms. All the units were Android-based.

In Malaysia, the percentage was even higher, with 58 per cent of the tablets sold in the first half of 2014 allowing voice calls, according to GfK.

Demand for tablets in the country is moving towards smaller models. A H1 report from GfK shows 81 per cent of tablets had 7- to 8.9-inch screens compared with 59 per cent during the same period last year. The 10-inch screen category now accounts for just 10 per cent of sales, down from 29 per cent in H1 2013.

With the shift towards smaller tablets, the average selling price in Malaysia dropped 27 per cent to $322 from a year ago.

Avinash Sundaram, a senior market analyst at IDC Asia Pacific, said the addition of voice highlights the consumer interest, at least in emerging markets, in having a single device for watching movies, taking pictures, texting and making calls, even if the device has a huge 7-inch screen.

“It also helps that these devices are quite affordable,” he added.

Sundaram said tablets with built-in voice capability now account for almost 50 per cent of the tablet market in some emerging countries, including India and Indonesia.

He expects this trend to gain momentum as the devices address consumer needs for a single converged mobile device that is also great value for money.


Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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