Apple Continues to Dominate Tablet Market, Android Tablets Trend Downwards
May 3, 2012 1:40 PM
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Apple's "new iPad" and iPad 2 continue to trounce the competition
Although there was a semblance of a tablet market that had been around for nearly a decade in the PC space, it wasn't until Apple's iPad launched in 2010 that the market really took off. The original iPad was a success for the boys from Cupertino, while the
took Apple's tablet sales through the roof. According to the latest figures from IDC, it appears that the "
" is continuing that trend, putting it
far ahead of its Android-based rivals
While overall tablet sales were predictably down from the holiday season (28.2 million units shipped in Q4 2011) to 17.4 million units in Q1 2012, it still represented a 120 percent increase compared to Q1 2011 (7.9 million units). Not surprisingly, Apple's iPad led the way with 11.8 million tablet shipments during the first quarter.
"Apple's move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers," said Tom Mainelli, research director for Mobile Connected Devices at IDC.
Apple was no doubt helped out by its decision to keep the year-old iPad 2 (16GB, Wi-Fi) onboard to lower the price of entry for its tablet family to $399.
Android tablets, however, took a nose dive in market share during the first quarter, with Amazon falling from second place in shipments to third place, effectively swapping spots with Samsung. The sharp decline in Kindle Fire sales along with an overall weakness in Android-based tablet sales allowed Apple to rebound from a worldwide market share of 54.7 percent in Q4 2011 to a stronger position of 68 percent in Q1 2012.
"It seems some of the mainstream Android vendors are finally beginning to grasp a fact that Amazon, B&N, and Pandigital figured out early on: Namely, to compete in the media tablet market with Apple, they must offer their products at notably lower price points," Mainelli continued.
Mainelli also expects Amazon to ship a larger version of its Kindle, presumably with a 10.1" display. Unlike the current Kindle Fire, which uses a heavily modified fork of Android 2.3, the larger tablet will use the mainstream version of Android used by tablet makers like Samsung, Toshiba, and Lenovo.
IDC Group [press release]
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Android tablet shortcomings
5/4/2012 11:26:19 AM
As a person who just decided to buy their first tablet, and is a Windows user, and a former Android phone user (switched family to WP7), and whose family is heavily invested in Kindle readers, I ended up deciding to purchase an iPad 2 (my first Apple purchase, thought I would never do it).
I really wanted to buy an Android tablet, but:
1. The Android OS is less intuitive (and more complex) than iOS. My 5 year old can pick up the iPad and know how to use it in 5 minutes. Same goes for my 75 year old mother in law. For the intended uses of tablets, in my opinion you can't beat the simpler is better approach. Even the latest Android ICS seems lacking to me. It just doesn't feel right. I hope Windows 8 brings a better experience here.
2. The 4:3 aspect ratio is a better display size for tablets. The 16:9 aspect ration of Android tablets is geared toward widescreen movies, and not more general use like the iPad. BIG mistake Android tablet makers.
3. Cost. Comparing the Samsung and ASUS tablets at the 10" size, there is no significant cost savings to go Android, with all its shortcomings.
For my intended use of checking email, web browsing, Kindle reader, Netflix and light gaming, the iPad is just a better product that really doesn't cost more.
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