Will 10-inch Android tablets be the losers of the tablet PC wars?

7-inch Android slates and Microsoft Windows RT and Windows 8 models will dominate the non-iPad tablet market, according to supply chain manufacturers.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor
10-inch Android tablets like the Toshiba Excite 10 might become rarer as manufacturers focus on 7-inch Android models instead.

As the tablet market explodes, the supply chain will follow the money and direct its capacity towards the most popular options. It appears that one of those options is not 10-inch Android tablets, which could wind up being a casualty amid other form factors and operating systems.

While Apple will command a certain percentage of tablet sales with its iPads and iPad minis, all other tablets will fight over the remaining market share. Rumormonger extraordinaire Digitimes is reporting that the supply chain has already placed its bets on 7-inch Android tablets, which it believes could account for up to 70 percent of the non-iPad market. 

That remaining 30 percent will be split between tablets running the new Microsoft Windows RT and Windows 8 operating systems and 10-inch Android slates. With Microsoft's marketing muscle behind its new tablet strategy, 10-inch Android models are therefore seen as the least viable proposition. Parts makers are supposedly already shifting their output from those larger Android tablets to Windows 

Given its track record, any Digitimes report should be taken with a grain of salt, and Google's entry into the 10-inch market with the Samsung-built Nexus 10 should prove popular. Amazon also has a 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD that will sell thanks to the retailer's marketing heft, and Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 is supposedly selling well.

But other manufacturers may decide they'll have difficulty competing against those models and leave the 10-inch market to those players. As the Android tablet market has matured (somewhat), the burgeoning Windows one may prove attractive to manufacturers, though Microsft's own tablets will provide an impediment as well. Eventually a shakeout could take place across the whole tablet marketplace, but for right now, you might expect fewer 10-inch Android launches and more new 7-inch Android and Windows tablets in the near future.

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