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Digitimes Research: Google shifts focus to large-size tablet competition
Jim Hsiao, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Tuesday 18 March 2014]

Digitimes Research has learned that Google is set to release at least two Nexus tablets in 2014 with an 8.9-inch model already under development and set to enter mass production in July. The 8.9-inch tablet features a display resolution of more than 2K.

Although Google may still release a smaller-size model in 2014, its strategy of skipping most of the sizes in the 8-inch range and going for an 8.9-inch display - a size that colud be categorized as large-size tablet (9-inch and above) - shows that the Internet giant is starting to shift its focus to large-size tablet applications.

In 2013, Android had an over 50% share in the small-to medium-size brand tablet market and is expected to achieve further growth in 2014 as brand vendors turn to push 8-inch tablets. The 7-inch segment will continue to see shipment growth thanks to strong demand for models with phone functions, Digitimes Research believes.

However, in the large-size brand tablet market, Android only accounted for around 30% in 2013 and its shipments amounted to only half of those of iPads. Windows also trailed behind with around 10% market share.

Because of Google's disadvantages in the large-size brand tablet market, Digitimes Research believes the release of the 8.9-inch Nexus - a product with a good price/performance ratio, sufficient mobility, and a strategic position between the large-size and small- to medium-size segments - may motivate the rest of Android camp to also skip the 8-inch segment and head for the large-size segment.

More importantly, whether the Android camp is able to create new added values for the large-size tablet market and in turn boost the overall market, will heavily depend on Google's ability to enhance Android tablet-only applications and attract more application developers to join the ecosystem.

Digitimes Research believes if the 8.9-inch Nexus can be priced at around US$299 and if Android 5.0, which may be released at the Google I/O in June, is able to feature more Android tablet-only applications, it should help the 8.9-inch Nexus tablet achieve a breakthrough in the large-size tablet market.

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