Phablets gaining popularity with consumers

“Phablets” are generating strong consumer buying interest worldwide, particularly in emerging countries, according to Accenture.

Blending smartphone and tablet PC features, phablets have five-to seven inch screen sizes – larger than the four-to-five inches of conventional smartphones.

Accenture conducted an annual online survey of 23,000 consumers aged 14 and older in 23 countries.

Respondents were from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The survey revealed that 57% of consumers plan to buy a smartphone this year and, of those, nearly half (48%) prefer to buy a phablet rather than a conventional smartphone.

“The phablet screen size is hitting a sweet spot for a large percentage of consumers wanting more digitally connected lifestyles,” said David Sovie, managing director of Accenture’s communications, media and technology group.

The survey also revealed that consumer preferences for phablets are stronger in emerging countries than developed countries. Of the consumers planning to buy a smartphone, 67% in India, 66% in China and 65% in South Africa said they would prefer to buy a phablet device.

By contrast, consumers in developed countries were less partial to buying phablets. The numbers were pegged at 40% in the US, 30% in Germany, and only 19% in Japan.

“Among emerging markets, the most lucrative opportunity will likely be in China, because it is one of the world’s largest smartphone markets,” said Sovie. “Consumer technology companies need to broaden their phablet product development and sales initiatives to target larger regional markets keen to buy phablets.”

The survey also found that 44% of respondents are planning to buy a tablet PC this year. Of those, 72% prefer the full-size tablets rather than micro-mini-sized versions, compared with 20% who prefer the smaller form factors.


First Impression of Sony Xperia Z Ultra

I managed to get invited for a hands on event on the Sony Xperia Z Ultra which is due to be launched in Singapore from 5 Sept onwards. The new Xperia Z Ultra is a 6.44" smartphone powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2.2 GHz quad-core CPU and it comes with 4G LTE capabilities.


Sony Xperia Z Ultra Black and White

The Likes

1. Supreme display – Sony has incorporated TRILUMINOS display, a technology used in SONY’s BRAVIA TV, in this phone creating richer and more natural colors. The high resolution of 1920 x 1080 Pixels makes the image sharper.

2.  Slim and Light – We place a Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 beside this phone and we can see that the SONY Xperia Z is much thinner than Samsung Galaxy Mega ( SONY Xperia Z is 6.5mm thick whereas Samsung Galaxy Mega is 8mm thick). Given its large screen size, the phone weights only 212 grams.

3. Good touch responsiveness – I am currently holding to Samsung Galaxy S4. When comes to touch responsiveness, I feel that my Samsung Galaxy S4 is a bit more sluggish than the SONY Xperia Z Ultra.  This could be due to Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2Ghz processor (My Samsung Galaxy S4 run on 1.9 Ghz quad-core processors). Again I would need to emphasize this is only the first impression. I have been using my S4 for months so it might not be a fair comparison to begin with.

4. Tough Device – Similar to the predecessor SONY Xperia Z, it is highly water resistance. You can literally drop this device into a tank of water and  this device will still be able to function normally.



The Dislikes

1. No flash and poor camera quality – Although camera is not my number 1 criteria when comes to purchasing of smartphones, I am sure it is an important aspect to some people especially those working in the creative line. Compeition is hot in the smartphone market. Camera spec will make a difference in customer’s buying decision. Having spoken with the people during the event, the 8 megapixel camera has not seem to be impressive.

2. More like a tablet with a phone feature rather than a smartphone – I like the display and the UI. However, I cannot imagine myself placing the phone at my ear when answering a call.


How likely I will buy this phone?

Couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me whether he should buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. I post him back a question asking him whether is he looking for a smart phone or tablet? He replied stating that he seldom makes phone call with his smartphone these days. Most of the time, he uses his phone as a small portable computing devices to play games and engage in social networking activities which is why he would want to get a “bigger phone” like Galaxy Note 8.0 for better experience. In the event if he wants to make calls, he can do so via bluetooth.

I believe the SONY Xperia Z Ultra appeal to people like my friend. It is indeed a good mobile entertainment device. If you don’t mind bringing additional bluetooth device, you can purchase SONY Bluetooth headset SBH52 which has a built-in standalone FM radio.

Out of 5 stars, I will give 3.5 for this device. Currently, it is priced at SGD1,038 without contract.

SONY Xperia Z Ultra Accessories