Samsung set to overtake Apple in tablet market by end '14: Report

Apple's domination of the tablet market may come under threat by the end of 2014. According to a report from ZDNet, Korea Samsung with rising tablet sales in Q1 2014, is expected to overtake Apple by the end of the year.

To get an idea of the Korean company's strong showing, Samsung shipped a grand total of 14 million tablets, leaping 200,000 units from the previous quarter. This represents a 23-per cent quarterly global market share for Samsung, closing in on the iPhone maker's 30 per cent.

An unnamed Samsung official who spoke to ZDNet Korea, said the rise in shipments to the company's sales plan that covered both emerging and established markets was due to the company's sales plan for tablets. He said the company had implemented a comprehensive sales plan for tablets, to service demand from emerging countries as also developed ones.

Meanwhile as the smartphone action shifted to the mass market, leaders Samsung and Apple came under pressure to make their high-end phones more affordable to increase sales, which might spell trouble for margins that were already softening, Reuters reports.

Samsung, had on Tuesday cautioned of a likely second straight quarterly profit decline. It had cut a tenth off the price of its Galaxy S5 in South Korea, in a first of its kind move for a marquee smartphone launch. For the S5 launch, due tomorrow, the company plans to throw in a free gift pack of media subscriptions and web apps worth 600,000 won.

According to researcher IDC, the mass market – where a smartphone could be bought for as little as $25 had emerged as the mobile device battleground, while high-end growth eased with sales slowing in mature markets.

Japan, for example, might see shipments fall this year, according to IDC.

Samsung's flagship S5 price cut suggested the South Korean firm wanted to encourage users to trade up to a fancier phone – at a potential cost to its margins. Samsung's mobile business operating margin was down to 16 per cent in October-December from 18 per cent over the whole of 2013.

According to Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Securities, Samsung was now offering premium models at lower prices to secure margins as the demand outlook for high-end phones remained uncertain.