Android tablets will end iPad's market dominance next year, analyst forecasts

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Tablets running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android are on pace to halt Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad market share dominance for the first time in either the second or third quarter of 2013, according to Sameer Singh, an analyst with mergers and acquisitions consulting firm Finvista Advisors.

In addition to recent IDC data indicating that total shipments of Android tablets surged to 13.8 million during the third quarter of 2012--cutting the iPad's market share lead to 50.4 percent from 66.5 percent in the second quarter--Singh notes that shipments of Android tablets have outpaced the iPad's sequential growth in six of the last eight quarters, thanks in part to the late 2011 introduction of Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire.

"OEMs have learned from Amazon's model that diversified price points would help expand the market and take share from the iPad," Singh writes. "This has resulted in far more broad-based growth, which is not only sustainable, but should result in an accelerated ramp-up of sales over the next 3-4 quarters. Q1 2013 is likely to see a cyclical dip in shipments, but we are unlikely to see a crash. The growth pattern across OEMs is very similar to the dynamics in the early stages of the smartphone market, which suggests that tablets are finally being adopted by mainstream users."

While Singh expects the iPad to control about 55 percent of the tablet market during the quarter, fueled by the arrival of Apple's iPad mini, he does not see iPad mini sales to cannibalizing the Android tablet market. "Early indications support my reasoning, as Kindle Fire HD sales spiked when the iPad Mini was launched, while Nexus 7 sales continue to remain strong," Singh states. "The iPad would have to consistently outpace the growth of Android tablets over the next year to hold on to its market leadership position, which is quite unlikely. Therefore, current tablet market share trends are consistent with my prediction of Android tablets overtaking the iPad by mid-2013. However, both platforms should see rapidly rising volumes, as market share gains will be growth-driven."

Singh did not factor tablets running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows into his analysis. "I expect them to have a negligible impact on the overall market," he writes. "Surface RT sales are off to a slow start, and OEMs have already lost interest in the Windows RT platform. This only leaves high-priced x86 based Windows 8 tablets to compete with Apple and Android."

For more:
- read Singh's forecast
- read this CNet article

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