Tablet shipments reaching tipping point for Android to overtake Apple
The Android ecosystem is poised to overtake Apple's iOS in tablet shipments, according to new research.
Apple exited the first calendar quarter of 2013 with 50% share of all tablet shipments, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research, which noted Apple has been able to maintain its tablet lead by delivering a quality experience at a premium price.
However, Android is catching up. ABI stated the country of interest for Android is China; the Middle Kingdom is passionate about the Apple brand, but also about the masses' ability to afford Android devices.
Smaller seven inch Android tablets have become popular in China, although most lack the Google suite of apps and Android Play marketplace. A push for sub-$200 tablets is keeping Android relevant in both developed and emerging markets.
'It's inevitable that Android tablets will overtake iOS-powered slates, though we see no single vendor challenging Apple's dominance anytime soon,' commented senior practice director at ABI, Jeff Orr. 'With media tablets commercially available for more than four years, momentum is shifting toward value and affordability, putting tablets in more of the population's reach.'
Average selling prices and sizes have been moving down-market since Android tablets started honing in on the opportunity in 2012, said ABI. Rather than try to unseat Apple in the 10 inch-class space, tablet vendors have sought a defensible area they could own; the result is the seven inch-class devices.
Facing manufacturing limits in its first quarter of offer, the 7.9 inch iPad mini has 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% of units and 39% of total iPad revenues. 'Expect iPad minis to become the predominant iPad model after the June quarter,' added Orr