Apple's grand entrance at the mini-tablet party looks a little tardy following figures suggesting 7in devices already command more than a third of the wider tablet market in western Europe.
Prior to launches by Samsung, Google and Apple, the market share of 7in tablets in the region in June was just seven per cent, but this rocketed to 36 per cent in September, according to market watcher Context.
Context mobile computing analyst Salmon Chaudhry (pictured) stressed that Apple is joining an already crowded market following the launch of its iPad Mini this week.
"Many argue that Apple's launch of the iPad Mini will be driving a 7in-tablet explosion. However, our figures show that consumers have already started to adopt this category and are continuing to opt for devices such as the Nexus or Kindle," he said.
According to Context, 7in sales were initially driven by the launch of Google's Nexus tablet (pictured), propelling the share of mini-tablets to 14 per cent. The market was further boosted in August when RIM slashed the price of its PlayBooks, while Samsung's P3100 tablet is also gaining traction.
Chaudhry said its VoIP apps and iMessaging will be key selling points for the iPad Mini but argued that non-Apple devices will continue to make headway.
"With the long-awaited iPad Mini now launched and the Surface due to join the market prior to the busy Christmas rush, 7in-tablet vendors will be fighting an all-important battle to get consumers onside and, more importantly, hooked into their own ecosystems," he added.
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