An iPad. (Photo/CFP)
The global tablet computer market will continue to witness a price war this year as more brand companies jump onto the affordable tablet bandwagon, according to a local research company.
Worldwide tablet shipments in 2013 are forecast to grow by 63.9% from one year ago to 254 million devices, including 73 million Apple iPads, 82.4 million non-iPad models from brand companies and 98.6 million "white-box" tablets — those without a registered brand name, Digitimes Research wrote in a report on May 16.
Brand companies are likely to price their tablets more competitively by cutting prices to as low as US$99 to US$149 this year from a level of US$199 last year in a move to lure more entry-level consumers, while prices of white-box tablets may be lowered to US$40, the report said.
In addition to the popular Google-Asustek Nexus 7 tablet, the market has been driven by more low-cost Android models from other brand names, such as the Asustek MeMO Pad, Acer Iconia B1 and HP Slate 7, according to the report.
Moreover, white-box tablet vendors are expanding their presence by tapping into emerging markets and applications for the educational sector, which will become a new battlefield for white-box and brand tablets running the Android operating system, Digitimes Research reported.
According to NPD DisplaySearch, tablet PC shipments are forecast to increase 67 percent year-on-year to 256.5 million devices in 2013 and reach 579.4 million devices by 2017.
White-box tablet PCs accounted for one-third of global tablet PC shipments in 2012 and will maintain that share for the next several years, the market intelligence firm predicted.