ABI Says Android Tablet Shipments Approaching ‘Tipping Point’

The day’s of Apple’s market-leading tablet dominance are now officially numbered.

ABI Research reports that Android tablets are fast-approaching the tipping point by which they will overtake the iPad as the most shipped tablets in the global market.

Apple has been able to maintain its tablet lead by delivering a quality experience at a premium price. The iPad maker exited the first calendar quarter of 2013 with 50% share of all tablet shipments, though, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research, the Android ecosystem is poised to overtake iOS.

So how did it happen… and so fast? The answer is China.

The big variable for Android is China, ABI says. Smaller, affordable 7-inch Android tablets have become hugely popular throughout Asia. “A push for sub-$200 tablets is keeping Android relevant in both developed and emerging markets,” ABI says.

“It’s inevitable that Android tablets will overtake iOS-powered slates, though we see no single vendor challenging Apple’s dominance anytime soon,” senior practice director Jeff Orr writes. “With media tablets commercially available for more than 4 years, momentum is shifting toward value and affordability, putting tablets in more of the population’s reach.”