Growth in the branded tablet market is expected to come in at a “disappointing 2.5 per cent” in 2014, as the 200 million annual shipment milestone remains elusive, according to ABI Research.

Apple and Samsung continue to lead the market for branded devices, although it has not been plain sailing for the top two. Apple saw unit shipments down 13 per cent in the first half of 2014, while Samsung saw its shipments increase by 26 per cent.

Apple announced its latest iPads almost twelve months ago, and has noted “softness” in some markets where it traditionally plays well – such as the US and Western Europe.

Samsung, in contrast, updated its Galaxy Tab line in the first half of 2014 (pictured), enabling it to maintain a “solid tablet sales momentum”.

“The roller-coaster ride from the leading two tablet vendors has market watchers looking to other vendors to create sustainable growth. All eyes are on Lenovo as it is one of few to demonstrate consistent growth over the past year,” said Jeff Orr, senior practice director.

Aside from vendors, ABI also noted that chipmaker Intel “continues to show progress toward its goal of 40 million devices powered by its processors in 2014”. While many will be used in non-branded devices, this was still said to look like “the tipping point for Intel’s mobility processor strategy”.

“Forty million units is only a minor dent in ARM’s domination of tablets, though Intel is quickly becoming a formidable applications processor architecture competitor”, Orr said.