Android will "inevitably" overtake Apple iOS as the leading tablet OS as the market shifts towards lower price points, an analyst has asserted.
According to ABI Research, the Android ecosystem is poised to overtake iOS, despite Apple exiting Q1 2013 with a 50 per cent share of tablet unit shipments under its belt.
One big variable is China, which has a penchant for smaller 7in Android tablets despite most lacking the Google suite of apps and Android Play marketplace, ABI said.
"It is inevitable that Android tablets will overtake iOS-powered slates, though we see no single vendor challenging Apple's dominance any time soon," said Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI.
"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."
ABI is not the first analyst to predict that Android will soon gain the upper hand over Apple due to the proliferation of smaller and cheaper devices. In March, IDC forecast that Android will account for 48.8 per cent of the 190.9 million tablets shipped in 2013, compared with iOS on 46 per cent.
Android's success in the tablet space is tied in with the rise of the 7in-class category, ABI said.
Rather than try to unseat Apple in its 10in backyard, rival vendors sought a defensible area they could own, the analyst explained.
Apple responded last October by launching the iPad Mini, which ABI estimates already represents 49 per cent of units and 39 per cent of total iPad revenue.
"Expect iPad minis to become the predominant iPad model after the June quarter," adds Orr.
According to IDC, tablet shipments will surpass that of portable PCs for the first time in 2013. By 2015, tablet shipments will exceed that of both portable and desktop PCs combined, it added.
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