Apple's iPad is projected to account for 73.4 per cent of the worldwide media tablet sales in 2011 (down from 83 per cent share in 2010). Android tablets will take up the second position after Apple, accounting for 17.3 per cent of the total tablet sales (an increase of 14.3 from Android's 2010 market share). Apple will ship more than 46.69 million tablets in 2011 while Android tablets are on pace to ship 11 million units in the same time frame, according to Gartner, Inc.
"We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014. This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
Android Suffers In Tablet Market
According to the company, Android has suffered in the tablet market due to high prices, weak user interface and limited tablet applications.
"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," added Milanesi. Apart from Apple iOS and the Android operating system (OS), none of the other platforms will have more than 5 per cent share of the tablet market in 2011.
Meanwhile the total worldwide media tablet sales will go up to 63.6 million units, a 261.4 per cent increase from 2010 sales of 17.6 million units. Media tablet sales will continue to experience strong growth through the next few years till 2015, when sales are forecast to reach 326.3 million units.
Gartner analysts believe Research In Motion's QNX OS is a promising platform, but it is still in the early stages of development. RIM's main challenge will be to attract more support from application developers as the company is going through a rough patch. .
Also, 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. Moreover, the late arrival might limit its appeal, especially to consumers. The platform will find its biggest opportunities in the enterprise segment, where IT departments could benefit from smoother integration with existing Microsoft software.
"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," said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. "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."