Android tablets are poised to overtake Apple's iPad in terms of global market share.
Apple CEO Tim Cook might not care but everyone else is rooting for one or the other in the Android vs iPad war.
Analysts at ABI Research predict that Android tablet sales — Android tablet reviews — will have passed those of the iPad in the second quarter of 2013. They also believe that Apple's iPad mini will soon sell more than Apple's
Apple finished the first calendar quarter of 2013 with a 50 percent share of all tablet shipments, according to ABI.
The big variable for Android is China, says ABI. Smaller, 7-inch Android tablets have become popular in China, though 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. Average selling price and size have been moving down-market since Android tablets started honing in on the opportunity in 2012.
"It's inevitable that Android tablets will overtake iOS-powered slates, though we see no single vendor challenging Apple's dominance anytime soon," says ABI's senior practice director 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."
Rather than try to unseat Apple in the 10in-class space, tablet vendors sought a defensible area they could own; the result is the 7in-class devices.
Facing manufacturing limits in its first quarter of offer, the 7.9-inch iPad mini, reviewed, 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 4-6 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," adds Orr.
At the recent D11 Conference Apple CEO Tim Cook brushed aside the fact that Android is rapidly gaining on the company's iOS device sales.
Cook noted that the company sold 85 million iPhones and 42 million iPads. Asked how this compares with Android, he stated that "what the numbers suggest over and over again is that people are using our products more.
"That's what we are all about. We want to enrich people's lives."
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