Is Apple Facing a Mid-Range Smartphone Market Showdown?

Iphone 5Will Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming product launches boost its overall smartphone market share, or will the iPhone maker lose more ground to new mid-range devices from Chinese smartphone vendors? According to market research firm ABI Research, Apple may soon face more market share competition from various low-cost smartphone makers based in China.

“The second half of 2013 will be defined by fierce competition between price-aggressive OEMs moving toward the middle tiers for increased margins, while at the same time top tier OEMs are diversifying portfolios into the middle in search of continued growth,” states ABI Research senior practice director Jeff Orr.

As Apple prepares to launch its own mid-range price iPhone, low-cost smartphone makers such as Lenovo (LNVGY.PK) and Huawei are increasingly delving into the same mid-range market.

ABI Research notes that feature phone shipments declined by 20 percent year-over-year to 195 million units shipped, while smartphones accounted for over half of the total mobile phone shipments for the second quarter in a row. Smartphones accounted for 52 percent of the total number of mobile phones shipped in the last quarter.