News by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday February 26, 2013.
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Smartphone screen sizes have reached ridiculous levels since the so-called "phablet" era began, but few sights are as bizarre as the idea of making phone calls on a tablet. That doesn't mean that making phone calls on an ASUS FonePad or Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 are as crazy as you think.
Personally, I wouldn't want to hold such a large device up to my head to make a phone call. Even with my massive hands, I'm not even sure that I could. I avoided using a Samsung Galaxy Note II when making calls to my parents because the lengthy periods of time holding the device made me uncomfortable. The thought of trying to replicate that on a tablet is downright absurd.
I understood why people seemed perturbed by the ASUS FonePad and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 having phone capabilities, but all of the people making jokes and criticizing the manufacturers for creating such large phones failed to realize one thing - these are not phones. The FonePad and Galaxy Note 8.0 are tablets. Yes, ASUS probably made a foolish move by putting a phone reference into the branding, but these are tablets that happen to have phone-calling capabilities, not daily drivers that someone will always try to have lengthy conversations on. These are devices that will be used primarily to read books, watch videos, and draw. Phone calling on these devices is a feature, not the primary use case. To make that point clearer, you can bet neither device will have a calling option if and when they are released in the U.S.
Making phone call on a tablet is not as outlandish as some would have you believe. I have both a smartphone and a 7-inch tablet that I frequently carry, and there have been times where I could see myself making a call on my tablet, which would allow me to save precious power on my smartphone. If someone is already paying monthly service charges to access data on their tablets, I could understand why they might like to have the option of making calls on a tablet as well. In the bizarre event that someone actually plans to use the FonePad or Galaxy Note 8.0 as a primary phone - again, I don't know why anyone would pursue that option - there's a little-known invention called a Bluetooth headset that can make the user look less ridiculous.
The ASUS FonePad and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 are not the first tablets capable of making phone calls. The original Samsung Galaxy Tab also had the feature in European markets, and I doubt there are many people who recall seeing many phone calls made with that giant device. The phone capabilities of these tablets are simply options, and consumers tend to embrace options no matter how ridiculous they make the user appear. In a world where people record entire concerts on their iPad, it shouldn't surprise anyone to see someone want to make occasional phone calls on a device that's capable of connecting them to another person.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.