A boom in sales small-screen tablets and Android devices is causing analysts to re-think their market forecast.
Research firm IDC said that it would be raising its tablet shipment forecast after spotting higher-than-expected sales figures in most of the sector. Overall, the firm now believes the market will top out 2013 with some 190.9 million units shipped, up from an estimate of 172.4 million units previously.
Much of that growth is believed to be from the small-screen tablet space. IDC noted that half of all tablet shipments in the first quarter of the year were devices with a screen size 8in or smaller. Analysts believe that such devices are hitting a sweet spot with users who want more portable devices.
Much of the benefit for that transition will be reaped by the vendors of Android products. The platform is set to increase its market share on the year up from an estimated 41.5 percent to a 48.8 percent share.
Apple, meanwhile, stands to see its overall market share fall amid the growing sales. Analysts estimate that iOS will see its projected share of the market shrink from 51 percent to 46 percent, putting the platform behind Android for the first time.
While researchers also expect Microsoft to expand its one percent share of the tablet space in the coming years to 7.4 per cent by 2017, a disappointing reception to the company's Windows RT platform could slow Redmond's growth over the short term.
"Consumers aren't buying Windows RT's value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8," said IDC tablet research director Tom Mainelli.
"Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road."
If IDC's 2013 forecast holds up, it would mark the second consecutive year in which tablet sales have outperformed analyst estimates. That growth, however, has taken a toll on the PC market, where vendors continue to see sales slumping.
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