Although the iPad is still leader of the pack, its market share has dropped significantly since 2010, leaving everyone wondering how long until Android takes over.
Early predictions favoured 2015 or 2016 as the crossover point, but Sameer Singh from Finvista Advisors believes the narrowing gap between Apple and Android suggests 2013 could be the year that consumers finally get over the iPad.
“That trend will continue as the share collectively owned by Android tablets surpasses that of the iPad in the first half of next year,” said Singh.
Rumours of the iPad mini throughout the year caused many consumers to refrain from buying the New iPad in Q3, preferring to wait for Apple’s first ever 7-inch tablet. But rather than make up the numbers with the iPad mini, the tablet’s high starting price left some wondering why they should chose this device when a 7-inch Android tablet was so much cheaper.
This slowdown put a sizeable dent in Apple's commanding worldwide market tablet share, which slipped from 65.5 per cent in Q2 to 50.4 per cent in Q3 2012. Compare this to 2010, when iPad had 87 per cent market share (reports IDC), and Android dominating the tablet market in 2013 doesn’t sound too far fetched.
“With the introduction of a smaller, lower-cost iPad mini, Apple has acknowledged Android’s beachhead of 7-inch-class tablets, though at the same time, it has failed to deliver a knock-out punch through innovation, pricing, and availability during the most critical selling period of the year,” commented ABI Research senior practice director Jeff Orr.
“As the OS of choice for the majority of device OEMs, we expect the Android ecosystem to continue growing in numbers – new manufacturers, better device choices for reaching more markets, and more developers finding value from apps and content,” adds Orr.
IDC program manager Ryan Reith believes Windows 8 has also made an impact on the tablet market, but predicts its price could hold it back: "With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose. However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500."
ABI reports that Android now powers more than 44 per cent of tablet shipments. This figure suggests that it won’t take long for Android to potentially overtake Apple, as more and more manufacturers and developers get on board.
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