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Android to make tablet gains, but iPad will still lead in 2015, says Gartner

Sep 22, 2011 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive

By 2015, Apple's iPad will still dominate the media tablet market with around 46 percent, although Android will have climbed steadily to 36 percent, a new Gartner forecast claims. Third place is expected to go to Microsoft's Windows 8, which will have mustered 10.5 percent of the tablet market by 2015, according to the report.

According to Gartner's Sept. 22 research note, Apple's iPad is projected to account for 46 percent of worldwide media tablet sales in 2015, having gradually fallen from 73.4 percent share in 2011 and 67 percent share in 2012. "Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen," Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, is quoted as saying.

Android tablets are said to be on pace to ship 11 million units in 2011, accounting for 17.3 percent of media tablet sales, but up only slightly from the operating system's 14.3 percent share. Gartner forecasts that Android will grow modestly to 22 percent share in 2012, and then to 36 percent share by 2015.

 OS

2010

2011

2012

2015

Android

2,512

11,020

22,875

116,444

iOS

14,685

46,697

69,025

148,674

MeeGo

179

476

490

197

Microsoft

0

0

4,348

34,435

QNX

0

3,016

6,274

26,123

WebOS

0

2,053

0

0

Other Operating Systems

235

375

467

431

Total Market

17,610

63,637

103,479

326,304

Worldwide sales of media tablets to end users by OS (thousands of units)
Source: Gartner (September 2011)

While these numbers show Android gaining share from iOS and, arguably, holding Windows 8 at bay, Gartner says it has lowered its forecasts for Google's operating system. "The reduction would have been [even] greater had it not been for the success of lower-end tablets in Asia, and the expectations around the launch of Amazon's tablet," the research firm stated.

"So far, Android's appeal in the tablet market has been constrained by high prices, weak user interface, and limited tablet applications," Milanesi stated. "Google will address the fragmentation of Android across smartphone and tablet form factors within the next Android release, known as 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' which we expect to see in the fourth quarter of 2011. Android can count on strong support from key OEMs, has a sizeable developer community, and its smartphone application ecosystem is second only to Apple's."

Tough going for Microsoft, RIM

Gartner says Microsoft will have zero percent of the media tablet market this year, and only four percent of it in 2012. By 2015, Windows will be on approximately 10.5 percent of the 326.3 million tablets sold that year, the firm forecasts. Windows 8's release schedule — the operating system is expected to be finalized in fall 2012 — will blunt its impact. "The late arrival might limit its appeal, especially to consumers, as Apple and Android will be more entrenched by then," the firm stated.

Gartner adds that "Microsoft's platform will find its biggest opportunities in the enterprise segment, where IT departments could benefit from smoother integration with existing Microsoft software." But, it warns, "the current buzz around Windows 8 … might be short-lived if Microsoft's push to use the new OS across devices comes at a compromise in usability."

Like other analysts, those at Gartner seem to ignore the fact that Windows tablets are already on sale (and may achieve better sales now that purchasers can upgrade them to Windows 8 Developer Preview software if they wish). The research firm's report does, however, focus on "media tablets" — a term that has perhaps been defined to exclude the non-touchy-feely Windows 7. 

Finally, Gartner added that Research In Motion's QNX OS, found on its PlayBook tablet, "is a promising platform, but it is still in the early stages of development." Because the company is going through a tough period, with considerable pressure on its smartphone business, RIM's main challenge will be to attract more support from application developers for its PlayBook tablet, the research firm says.

Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, stated, "Most of Apple's competitors are struggling to meet Apple's prices without considerably sacrificing margins. Screen quality and processing power are the two hardware features that vendors cannot afford to compromise on. They should consider everything else 'nice to have,' rather than essential, in order to keep bills-of-materials costs competitive with those of the iPad."

Further information

Gartner says more information may be found in the $1,495 report "Forecast: Media Tablets by Operating System, Worldwide, 2010-2015, 3Q11 Update" and in the $1,295 report "Competitive Landscape: Media Tablets".

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at www.twitter.com/gadgetsense.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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