“Phablets,” mobile communications devices whose screen sizes are larger than those of smartphones but smaller than those of tablet computers, are likely to boost their presence in the Japanese market as handset makers race to expand their lineups.
Many smartphone models now have a screen of around 5 inches, reflecting advances in the technology to make lighter and more energy-efficient handsets and as an increasing number of users play video content and games on smartphones.
Leading mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo Inc. now offers seven smartphone models with a screen of 5 inches or larger, compared with only one a year ago.
Meanwhile, the smallest tablet models are equipped with a screen of about 7 inches.
Phablets, which have a screen of around 6 inches, are increasingly drawing attention as they can be used as phones like smartphones and are easy to browse like tablets.
With phablets, users do not need to have to lug around a smartphone and a tablet at the same time, said an official at a foreign handset maker.
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., a front-runner in the phablet market, has recently launched the Galaxy Note 3 with a 5.7-inch screen.
Taiwan’s Asus Inc. has started to sell the 6-inch Fonepad Note 6.
Early this year, Sony Corp. is expected to introduce the 5.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra in Japan, following its launch in overseas markets.
44% use a smartphone
A Jiji Press opinion poll has found that 43.7 percent of Japanese are using smartphones.
Meanwhile, 40.7 percent said they do not want to use smartphones.
The penetration rate stood at 84.7 percent among respondents in their 20s, 70.9 percent among those in their 30s and 60.3 percent among those in their 40s. The rate came to 7.8 percent among people in their 60s or older.
The survey also found that 64.6 percent of respondents in their 20s are using social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter or Line. The proportion stood at a meager 1.8 percent for people 60 and over.
The survey was conducted under an interview format for adults nationwide from Dec. 6 to 9, with 1,261 people giving valid answers.