It has been a sluggish year for branded tablets thanks to the economic downturn. Things are tough all over. DigiTimes research projects conservative half-year shipments at 49.18 million units, for a whole-year total of 88.69 million units.
The second half of 2012 is set up to be an almighty tablet battle and DigiTimes reckons that Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft will account for over 76 percent of the market, collectively. The tablet market is no longer about Apple and its invincible iPad versus a handful of smaller manufacturers. Android tablets have been struggling to offer any real competition, but the success of the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 has stirred new hopes. Now the big boys of tech are all stepping up to the plate. The question is which one will hit a home run?
So the contenders lining up are as follows:
- Nexus 7 from Google and Asus
- Kindle Fire range from Amazon (rumors suggest new models)
- Microsoft’s Surface tablet
- Apple’s iPad range (possibly including a new iPad mini)
At the top end of the market in the 10-inch tablet range we have Microsoft taking on the iPad directly with their Surface tablet. Rumors also suggest that Amazon will look to release a 10-inch version of the Kindle Fire. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google released a Nexus 10 as well. That will likely mean Microsoft and Apple fighting it out at the expensive end of the market while Amazon and Google offer cheaper alternatives.
In the 7-inch space it’s a similar tale. Google and Amazon have great value options going head-to-head. Apple looks likely to release a competitor, but you can bet it will be more expensive. There were strong rumors that Microsoft would release a 7-inch tablet ahead of their Surface announcement, but so far only the 10-inch device has been mentioned. It still wouldn’t be a shock if Microsoft jumped in here at some point.
Are you planning to buy a tablet? Do you already have one? Post a comment and tell us who gets your vote in the tablet war.