Google Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

It seems Tim Cook’s remarks about Apple’s comparatively low market penetration couldn’t come at a better time. ABI Research, a technology analytics firm that tracks the sale and distribution of mobile devices, said today that global Android tablet shipments will soon overshadow iPad shipments.

Apple dominated the tablet market in the first quarter of this year, shipping nearly 50 percent of tablets. That’s a substantial amount of iPads, but still down from Apple’s 69 percent of tablets shipped in the second quarter of last year, and a rate which ABI predicts is unsustainable in the face of stiff competition from low-cost Android tablet manufacturers. Developing markets like China and emerging markets – where demand for sub-$200 Android tablets is greatest – have propelled Android marketshare to incredible heights recently.

ABI maintains that devices running Android will soon represent a majority of tablet shipments, as smaller tablets become more popular and the price of tablets continues to fall. Research firm IDC reported earlier this week that 55 percent of tablets shipped this year will have screen sizes 8 inches or smaller, and that the average selling price of tablets should drop to $381 in 2013, a decrease of 11 percent.

It looks like Apple’s reluctance to engage new markets with discounted products has come back to bite the company. We’ll see if  it has learned its lesson when the next iPad is unveiled.

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