Android Reeling In Apple In The Lucrative Tablet War
March 12, 2013

Android Reeling In Apple In The Lucrative Tablet War

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Tablets are still a hot item, and Apple´s iPad has long been the market leader for these next-generation computing devices. Yet, a new prediction from IDC claims that Apple tablets will, for the first time, lose ground to cheaper and smaller Android tablets in 2013. What´s more, both platforms will have pieces of their market share ripped away by newcomer Microsoft.

Amazon, Google and Samsung have been making these cheaper and smaller tablets for two years in some instances, while Apple only just began selling their version of the same (the iPad Mini) last October.

As for the rest of the industry, IDC believes the tablet market will continue to grow in 2013. Previously, it had been assumed that 172.4 million tablets would be shipped in 2013. IDC's new report bumps the estimation to 190.9 million. They also expect tablet shipments to grow by 11 percent between 2013 and 2016, ending somewhere near 350 million tablets by the end of 2017.

"One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond" said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst for IDC's Tablet Tracker. "Vendors are moving quickly to compete in this space as consumers realize that these small devices are often more ideal than larger tablets for their daily consumption habits."

Many of these vendors will be cranking out Android-based tablets, according to IDC´s latest predictions. Last year saw an increase in Android shipments, a trend which today´s IDC report claims will continue in 2013. Android-based tablets could close out this year with 48.8 percent of the market share. IDC is again adjusting their earlier predictions here; they had previously predicted Android tablets would earn 41.5 percent of the tablet market business.

IDC also claims these Android numbers will come at the expense of Apple tablets.

Apple's iOS closed out 2012 with a majority 51 percent of the tablet market share. If IDC´s predictions are correct, Apple will suffer a significant slip, falling to 46 percent of the market by year's end.

At this point, IDC is projecting Android to be the market leader in 2017 with 46 percent. On the other hand, iOS could slip to 41 percent in four years.

Both of these tablets will lose some ground to Microsoft tablets, however. Today´s IDC report assumes Microsoft will see Windows 8-based tablet market share increase from only one percent of the market to 7.4 percent by 2017. Microsoft´s other tablet OS, Windows RT, won´t see the same kind of growth, predicts the analytical group. These tablets could remain below their current three percent market share. IDC blames this stunted Windows RT growth on their decision to launch more than one tablet OS.

"Microsoft's decision to push two different tablet operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT, has yielded poor results in the market so far," explains IDC´s research director for tablets, Tom Mainelli.

"Consumers aren't buying Windows RT's value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8. Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road," Mainelli added.

It was only last December when IDC made their last prediction about the tablet market. In that report, the firm mentioned the growing popularity of smaller and cheaper tablets, but claimed Apple would close out 2012 with a dominant 53.8 percent of global market share.

IDC measures monthly, quarterly and semiannual numbers alike to make their predictions about the state of the market.