Asus expects to ship at least 10 million tablets in 2013

Tablets sales for the company saw major growth in the third quarter

Taiwanese PC maker Asus saw major growth in its tablet shipments in the third quarter with the launch of Google's Nexus 7, and projects the shipments will reach at least 10 million units next year.

In this year's third quarter, Asus saw its tablet shipments reach 2.3 million, more than the number of tablets shipped in the previous three quarters combined, according to the company's earnings presentation on Tuesday.

During the third quarter in July, Asus and its partner Google launched an Android tablet called the Nexus 7, with the starting price of US$199. This put the device's price lower than Apple's iPad and on par with Amazon's Kindle Fire.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen said in an earnings webcast that sales of the Nexus 7 were "very good" and increasing, without elaborating. Google on Monday announced it would start selling a 32GB version of the Nexus 7 for $249, and it will also offer a $299 model with 3G capability.

In addition to partnering with Google, Asus last week also launched Windows 8 devices, including its VivoTab RT tablet. In the fourth quarter, the company projects tablet shipments will reach 2.6 million, bringing total shipments in the year to about 6.3 million.

That growth in tablet shipments is expected to continue into 2013. "I think 10 million [tablet shipments] is a conservative target," Shen said in the webcast.

Apple's iPad has continued to dominate the tablet market. But in the third quarter, Android tablets saw their worldwide market share grow to a record 41 percent, leaving Apple's iPad with a 57 percent share of the market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

For Asus, the Nexus 7 has helped turned the company into a larger "second tier" tablet vendor behind Apple, said Neil Mawston, an analyst with Strategy Analytics. "The Nexus 7 has given Asus an upward spike [with their shipments], giving it more devices, and more distribution," he added.

In the future, tablet sales will also rise as consumers and business users move away from laptops and toward tablets and hybrid devices, Mawston said. "That's going to open a large opportunity," he said.

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