In the recent past, Apple iOS and Google Android have delivered a windfall for both vendors. Moreover, this is a pivotal year for media tablets as the traditional markets leading computing and consumer electronics (CE) deployments reach a tipping point and give way to growth regions.
The most mature worldwide markets -- including North America, Western Europe, Japan and South Korea -- are yielding to other growth regions -- such as Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa -- where the connectivity infrastructure and distribution channels are coming of age.
According to the latest market study by ABI Research, they forecast 200 million branded tablet shipments this year -- that's a 20 percent gain year-over-year from the 166 million shipments in 2013.
With more choices than ever for mobile computing, consumers and businesses will weigh the role of tablets along with ultrabook PCs and large screen smartphones -- the so-called phablets -- to satisfy their communications and computing needs.
But ABI believes that 2014 will be anything but status-quo for media tablet vendors. As mentioned in previous reports, Microsoft and Intel will need to do something decisive in 2014 -- if they are to make a meaningful impact in the branded tablet marketplace.
"If Intel is able to achieve its goal of 40 million tablets with its processor technology, the silicon vendor will suddenly become a significant player," said Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI Research.
One of the greatest opportunities this year is for development, manufacturing and marketing of tablets on a regional and even local level, which shakes up the vendor ecosystem of the past four years.
Partnerships and deals struck this year will be key for the next few years of tablet adoption. Since 2010, the tablet market has been led by North America and its affinity with Apple's iPad.
ABI Research predicts North America will drop below 50 percent of all branded tablet shipments for the first time.
Continued efforts by Apple, Samsung, and other OEM vendors to find favor in growth markets will result in new distribution channels for retail, network operators and e-commerce.