The tablet market is splitting into two tiers with high-end and luxury brands at one end of the spectrum and mainstream offerings at the other.
As a result there will be little room for success in the middle ground, warned Context research, which has warned that those products pitched below the iPad but abo ve the Kindle will struggle to find an audience.
Apple continues to rule the roost with a strong Christmas performance seeing its market share rising to 88% in the final quarter of the year across Western Europe.
"Christmas time was in favour of Apple as sheer brand awareness and in-store recommendations drove sales of the already dominant iPad amongst consumers buying presents," said Salman Chaudhry, mobile analyst at Context.
But the competition is hotting up and the analyst house expects the dominance of the Apple iOS ecosystem to face more challengers as the year progresses.
"We believe that traditional PC vendors are likely to see success towards the third and fourth quarter of this year, when Windows 8 is set to launch offering an integrated and reliable ecosystem," added Chaudhry.
The expectation is that PC vendors will launch hybrid products combining features of tablets and laptops to get attention from enterprise customers.