ASUS, Acer, Dell and Lenovo to launch 8-inch tablets in Q3: New iPad mini 2 challengers?

The yet=to-be-launched iPad mini 2 will face stiff competition from several small tablets upon release, if a new research note by NPD DisplaySearch is to be believed. Apparently, Acer, ASUS, Dell and Lenovo are all gearing up to launch 8-inch Android-powered tablets in Q3 2013.

According to NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim, "Supply chain indications point to production of Android-based tablet PCs with 8-inch, 1280 x 800 displays in Q3'13. Brands including Acer, ASUS, Dell and Lenovo are expected to release 8-inch tablet PCs."

Shim also forecasts that tablets with screen sizes smaller than 9 inches will account for 66 percent of total tablet PC shipments for 2013. However, with the onslaught of new 8-inch tablets, along with the iPad mini 2 in Q4, the share is anticipated to increase post Q3 2013.

The analyst believes that "these new tablet PCs are part of a trend in the tablet PC market that is balancing between differentiation between increasingly larger smartphones and an expansion of the tablet PC opportunity to further drive adoption."

So far, the tablet market has been dominated by 9-inch and over devices, which accounted for over 60 percent of total tablets shipped in 2012. However, this year, the smaller tablets are estimated to account for over 60 percent of shipments.

With notebook PC shipments on a slow decline, it seems OEMs are re-focusing their product strategies as a result of shift in consumer preferences.

But what seems to be the main factor propelling the transition to 8-inch tablets from companies is the success of the 7.9-inch iPad mini.

"Apple's iPad mini...has captured a significant share of the market...Brands are hoping to expand this 'middle class,' gaining some share and slightly better margins than 7-inch tablet PCs," notes Shim.

With a slew of tablets allegedly gearing up for a Q3 launch, consumers it seems will have a field day this holiday season!

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