Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) The launch of Apple Inc.'s iPad mini and the price cut in Asustek Computer Inc.'s Nexus 7 will help expand the market for small tablets in Malaysia, research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) predicted in a recent report.
"Appetite for smaller tablets is irrefutable and 2013 will see intensified competition in the smaller tablet space, during which Samsung Electronics Co.'s current dominance is set to be tested, particularly by Apple's iPad mini," said Ryan Lai, an analyst at IDC.
"The arrival of the iPad mini at a comparable price to the United States and a 100 Malaysian Ringgits (US$33) price drop for the Nexus 7 represents the beginnings of a more competitive 7-inch tablet space in Malaysia," Lai wrote in a Dec. 13 report.
Samsung accounted for 85 percent of Malaysia's tablet shipments with screen sizes between 7 and 7.7 inches during the first nine months of 2012, IDC said, adding that the South Korean firm had built its reign under market conditions where little competition existed.
The arrival of Apple's much awaited iPad mini, starting at US$329 in the U.S., will be a game-changer for the Malaysian tablet landscape and boost the 7-inch tablet segment, the research firm said.
According to data compiled by IDC, the small tablet segment currently accounts for only 26 percent of the market but is expected to grow to 45 percent in 2013.
Sales of the Nexus 7 -- a 7-inch tablet -- that has been co-branded by Taiwan-based Asustek and U.S. search engine Google Inc., have been strong since its release in June.
The tablet's popularity has provided a fillip for Asustek's tablet shipments during the third quarter, which were pegged at 2.3 million or nearly 1.9 times more than the previous quarter, Asustek said.
The Taiwanese computer maker expects tablet shipments to touch 2.6 million units during the current quarter and 6.3 million units for the whole of 2012, owing to strong demand for the Nexus 7.
Google and Asustek unveiled the original Nexus 7 on June 27, which is the world's first 7-inch quad-core tablet, priced at US$199. The product will help these companies break into the less expensive Android tablet market.
Google said on Oct. 29 that a new version of the Nexus 7, which has a larger storage capacity of 32 gigabytes and Wi-Fi connectivity, has been priced at US$249, while a model with 3G cellular connectivity will cost US$299.
Asustek shares rose marginally by 0.15 percent to close at NT$335 (US$11.5) in Taipei Friday.
(By Jeffrey Wu)