Though Apple kicked off the tablet market with the iPad, it was Amazon that expanded the market to its current size. With its less expensive seven-inch Kindle Fire tablet Amazon pioneered the low-cost tablet segment and Samsung, Apple, and nearly every other manufacturer followed along, with sales of seven- and eight-inch tablets now dominating the tablet industry.
Now, however, it seems that everyone who needs a low-cost tablet may already have one. A DigiTimes report today shows that the market for smaller tablets may already be reaching saturation. The report's unnamed "market observers" stated that only around 56% of tablet sales during 2014 will come from tablets with displays of eight inches or smaller.
In addition to simple market saturation seven-inch tablets are also facing stiff competition from larger smartphones, some of which actually approach the sizes of small tablets. In addition to the competition from smartphones, prices for the low-end hardware that could go into inexpensive and cheap 10-inch tablets may drop in the coming months.
On top of all of this tablet manufacturers are now experimenting with even larger tablets. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Samsung officially announced its long-rumored 12.2-inch mega-tablets, which have just hit the U.S. market. Apple is also rumored to have been working on a mega-tablet for some time.
DigiTimes' sources predict that these mega-tablets might actually sell well at the higher end of the market, further eroding the market share of the smallest, cheapest tablets. The report predicts that around 9% of all tablet sales will be mega-tablets (with 11- to 13.9-inch displays) by the year 2018.
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