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Android Tablets Poised to Overtake Apple’s iPad

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Tablet shipments are reaching the tipping point for Android to overtake Apple, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research.

ABI’s “Media Tablet Market Share” findings show that while Apple has been able to maintain its tablet lead by delivering a quality experience with its iPad, it ended the first quarter of 2013 with a 50 percent share of all tablet shipments, and the Android ecosystem is poised to overtake iOS.

Its inevitable that Android tablets will overtake iOS-powered slates, though we see no single vendor challenging Apples dominance anytime soon,” said Jeff Orr, senior practice director for ABI. “With media tablets commercially available for more than four years, momentum is shifting toward value and affordability, putting tablets in more of the populations reach.”

The big variable for Android, according to ABI, is China, which is passionate about the Apple brand. While consumers there are able to afford technology devices, smaller 7-inch Android tablets have become popular, although most lack the Google suite of apps and Android Play marketplace. A push for tablets costing $200 and less is keeping Android relevant in both developed and emerging markets.  

Average selling price and size have been moving down-market since Android tablets started honing in on the opportunity in 2012. Rather than try to unseat Apple in the 10-inch class space, tablet vendors sought a defensible area they could own; the result is the 7-inch class devices.

Facing manufacturing limits in its first quarter of offer, the 7.9-inch iPad mini put a dent in the larger iPad sales and Apple profits. The first quarter of 2013 saw Apple cover its backlog and approach the typical four to six weeks of sales channel inventory while recording its second-best ever quarter for total iPad shipments. ABI Research estimates that iPad mini represented 49 percent of units and 39 percent of total iPad revenues. Expect iPad minis to become the predominant iPad model after the June quarter,” said Orr.

The Media Tablet Market Share” findings are part of ABI Researchs Media Tablets, Ultrabooks & eReaders Research Service.

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