Will This Be The Year Android Topples Apple in Tablet Market?
A new report from IDC claims that tablets running Google’s Android operating system will finally knock the iPad from its throne by year’s end. The market research outfit expects global tablet shipments to rise to 190.9 million in 2013, up from an earlier forecast of 172.4 million. Of those, it predicts that 48.8 percent will be Android tablets. And it believes the iPad will relinquish a portion of the 51 percent market share it claimed last year, slipping to 46 percent. (Caveat 1: IDC’s forecast is based on shipments into the channel, not sales; Apple sells pretty much every iPad it ships. The same cannot be said of Android tablet vendors.)
IDC says that trend of iPad ceding market share to rivals will continue in the ensuing years, with the tablet’s share slipping to 43.5 percent by 2017. Android will have begun to see declines by this time, as well, with its share slipping a few percentage points to 46 percent, as tablets running Microsoft’s Windows OS begin to gain traction (Caveat 2: The number of Android tablets on the market far, far outnumber the iPad of which there are essentially three models).
Of course, by 2017 global tablet shipments will be upward of 350 million, so while Apple may have a smaller share of the tablet market than it does today, it will be selling more tablets than ever before. Same thing for OEMs peddling Android tablets. At that point, what does it matter who’s king of the mountain, when two players are nearly splitting a market of 350 million down the middle? (Caveat 3: Usage metrics — A, B, C, D — suggests Android’s tablet ascendancy may not be all that meaningful)