(By Saritha Rai)
“Phablets, as the larger-than-a-smartphone, smaller-than-a-tablet hybrids are called, accounted for nearly a third of all smartphones shipped in India, according to research firm Cyber Media Research (CMR). Smartphone shipments rose to 9.2 million units compared with 2.8 million units in the same period last year.“
Many Indians couldn’t say what a phablet is. But smartphone sales in India as measured by shipments, including shipments of inexpensively-priced phablets, continued at a ripping pace, soaring over three times in the second quarter of 2013 compared with the same period a year ago.
Phablets, as the larger-than-a-smartphone, smaller-than-a-tablet hybrids are called, accounted for nearly a third of all smartphones shipped in India, according to research firm Cyber Media Research (CMR). Smartphone shipments rose to 9.2 million units compared with 2.8 million units in the same period last year.
Around the world phablets, the easy-to-carry crossover devices with bigger displays (larger than 5 inches and smaller than 7), have been eating into the sales of tablets.
“The category is only a year old in India but the entry-level, 5-inch, sub-$200 phablets are an instant hit with customers,” said Tarun Pathak, an analyst at CMR’s telecom practice.
India is poised at an interesting point, as massive numbers of feature phone users transition to smartphones. Low-priced phablets are proving to be the popular choice among those making this leap.
Samsung led smartphone sales led smartphone sales with 31% marketshare, closely followed by local phonemaker Micromax which cornered 23%. The competition between the two is stiff and the gap has been closing. CMR said local vendors’ brands local vendors accounted for over half the total smartphone market in the quarter, leaving some bigname global phonemakers in the dust.
About 50% of Micromax’s 2Q 2013 sales came from phablets, Pathak said. It’s lowest priced Canvas Viva A72 costs about $100. Micromax has seven phablets in a total smartphone portfolio of 12 while competitor Samsung has five phablets in its portfolio, illustrating the popularity of this format. Local Indian vendors like Lava and Lemon and two dozen others have all rushed to capture the phablet trend, launching many models.
Global phonemakers Apple and BlackBerry have been left out of the phablet game. Sony has just launched its first phablet in India in early August. The currency debacle might end up further boosting sales for local phonemakers like Micromax as imported devices become more expensive for Indians.
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