NEW DELHI: Apple's iPad remains the dominant tablet in India, but the introduction of numerous low-cost alternatives might ultimately reshape the category, according to ABI Research. 

In a new study, the company reported that the iPad held a 51% share of shipments in India's tablet market in 2011.

Second place went to Samsung, the Korean firm, as its Galaxy Tab took a 24% share. The BlackBerry PlayBook, made by Research in Motion, was on 10.4% here, though this total was boosted by price reductions.

But the tablet segment is at a nascent stage of development in India, where an estimated 390,000 units were shipped last year, measured against 65m globally.

ABI Research also suggested that the sector should enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 71% from 2011 to 2017, when 9.7m devices will be shipped.

According to Jeff Orr, ABI Research's consumer research group director, this year is going to be an "important" one for the industry, as a wide variety of models at different pricepoints are now on sale.

He said: "An enhanced user experience, seamless connectivity options, and localised content will drive the media tablet market growth."

More specifically, the roll out of products priced at below Rs10,000 ($200) could fuel interest in the category, although only if they are of a sufficiently quality to attract shoppers.

These offerings include Micromax's Funbook, commanding approximately Rs6,500, the HCL MeTab U1, available for Rs7,999, and the Milagrow Tabtop, targeted at women and costing Rs9,999.

Cheaper still is BSNL's Panta Tpad, which can be purchased for Rs3,259, and DataWind's Ubislate 7+, requiring just Rs2,999 to buy.

"While there are several media tablets being launched in the sub-$200 price range, simply lowering the average selling price of media tablets may not lead to the desired growth in the market," Aishwarya Singh, an analyst at ABI Research, said.

"Although there is lot of buzz in the Indian market, media tablets are yet to demonstrate their value proposition to Indian consumers."

Data sourced from ABI Research, The Mobile Indian; additional content by Warc staff