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Is it a phone? Is it a tablet? Phablets overtake tablet and portable PC shipments in Asia in 2013 Q2

phabletSmartphones with screen sizes of 5 to just under 7 inches, referred to as “phablets”, overtook shipments of each of the portable PC and tablet device categories in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) in the second quarter of 2013, according to a study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

The study shows the fact that device vendors shipped  25.2 million phablets in 2013 Q2, compared with 12.6 million tablets, and 12.7 million portable PCs. Phablets made a significant jump, up by 100% quarter on quarter, and up 620% for the same quarter in 2012.

“Samsung was the first to succeed in phablets with the Galaxy Note launched in APEJ in 2011 Q4, capturing 90% of the phablet market. Fast forward to 2013 Q2, and Samsung’s Note series counts for less than 50%,” says Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC Asia/Pacific’s Client Devices team.

The IDC analyst also revealed the fact that phablets first started as a trend driven by mature markets like South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, markets that continue to rise.

By comparison, the growth of tablets has taken a hit in the second quarter, in part due to high inventory carry over from Q1, the seasonal lull in Apple’s iPad refresh cycle, combined with some cannibalization of tablets by phablets. Particularly in emerging markets, where consumers may not have the budget to pick up one of each, the phablet is winning out to capture both the telephony and better browsing and multimedia experience.

The outlook for all three of these categories are positive for rest of this year. IDC expects interest in portable PCs to pick up as more hybrid and touch-enabled models launch, while tablets will pick up on the launch of Apple’s refreshed models and continued growth in the 7 to 9 inches category.


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