Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. plans to unveil its first phone-tablet hybrid handset at the Computex Taipei tech fair in June, hoping to gain traction in the fast-growing market.
Acer Corporate President Jim Wong said Monday that the "phablet" category, which is defined by Acer as a mobile device larger than 5 inches that still can be held with a single hand, has become very popular among female and elderly consumers.
"Our first-generation phablet will be launched this year," Wong told a media briefing, adding that the new device will be showcased at Computex Taipei, the world's second largest computer trade show scheduled for June 4-8.
The new Acer phablet will have special features in terms of size, camera and software, he said, while another model with "big upgrades" in certain components will be launched by the end of this year or early next year.
Wong projected that the global phablet market will grow to about 10 million units in 2013, up from between 7 million and 8 million units last year.
Pricing for the large-screen handsets will be critical to drive demand, Wong said, since consumers ideally want to pay about US$299 for such devices, lower than the US$399 to US$499 the product currently sells for.
Dale Gai, a Taipei-based analyst at Barclays Plc, said South Korean-based Samsung Electronics Co., which has tapped into this category with its Note series, appears to be the early winner in the segment due to its display component strength.
The hybrid category will trigger a new product cycle and bring more orders in the first half of 2013 for laggards in the mobile market, such as Taiwan's HTC Corp. and South Korea's LG Electronics Inc., Gai wrote in a recent report.
He forecast that smartphones over 5 inches will account for 15 percent of total smartphone sales in 2013 and 20 percent in 2015, compared with 5 percent currently.
(By Jeffrey Wu)