Mar 14 AT 9:20 AM Nick Gray 19 Comments

Android tablet market share to eclipse iOS by 2015


The Apple iPad has a dominating market share lead over its Android tablet competition and things aren’t expected to change much this year with the introduction of the iPad 3. While most of us favor Android powered devices, it’s hard to deny that no Android manufacturer has been able to produce a tablet which can go head-to-head with the new iPad. Samsung and Asus have some amazing products, but Android’s thorn in Apple’s side is actually low-end tablets which accounted for nearly 23% of all tablets sold in the last quarter of 2011.

According to the latest number by IDC, Android gained significant market share in 2011 and is expected to gradually increase its dominance in the tablet sector over the next few years. IDC predicts that Android tablets will overtake iOS  by 2015, though Apple is still expected to be the number one tablet manufacturer for the foreseeable future.

Top five Q411 tablet manufacturers

  1. Apple – 54.7%
  2. Amazon – 16.8%
  3. Samsung – 5.8%
  4. Barnes & Noble – 3.5%
  5. Pandigital – 2.5%

While the IDC numbers look promising for Android, they fail to account for Windows 8 powered tablets which are expected to debut later this year. At this point, it’s hard to predict how much tablet market share Microsoft will be stealing from Apple and Android, but the omission from IDC’s projections is surprising. Most PC manufacturers have plans to release Windows 8 tablets and consumers should be drawn to the new devices. They will be true hybrids which deliver tablet functionality and the power of a full computer.

Do you think the IDC projections will come to fruition or will Microsoft ultimately gain the upper hand in the tablet sector?

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • bigrob029

    I think it’s going to shake out like cell phones. Apple will have their following, android will fill out with the variety and numbers… and Microsoft w/ WT8 (windows tablet 8) will own the bottom percentage until the desktop takes off and the tablet refresh period comes up again.

    • professandobey

      Windows 8 has huge potential here to get everyone bought into their ecosystem. If Windows 8 takes off in a big way (which it could, since the Windows brand is what the masses use), people will start buying Windows Phone for the same ecosystem.

      This could turn out like the PC wars: with most everybody using Windows, a niche on Apple, and most other systems not worth mentioning. I sure hope Google has some good plans to get the masses on their ecosystem. They’ve done pretty good so far, but I’m not sure it’ll be enough.

      Of course, Windows 8 could fail to take on mass adoption, because it’s too different. The Consumer Preview seems to be bearing this out, but they still have a chance to fix their usability problems.

      • 72Monkeys

        I’m with you. As all three race toward one platform (what PC?) I see the 1990′s all over again. Apple is Apple, and that’s a good thing. (Let’s just hope Apple doesn’t need another Steve Jobs rescue plan again). MS is MS, and that’s a good thing too. But Android is Google? Who knows what that means. There’s no Steve and there’s no Bill at Google. (I’ve only owned Android phones and tabs, and love them, but..)

        I’ve spent time on Windows 8…is it that a big change? I don’t think it is. What it is, is a great branding move for Metro. The masses see the Metro (Tablet) start screen where they can choose to stay or click the desktop icon.

        I’ve also been toying around with the new Win8 SDK and Visual Studio 11 Beta IDE…it’s not a chore, it’s engaging. I think that will bring in a lot of young developers. And I think MS is closer to laptop/tablet integration than most people realize.

        my prediction…Market share in five years MS -> Apple -> hopefully Android.

    • Jeff Pan

      I think Nokia Tablet is going to get a major share. Plus add Asus and Google Play tablet and I see something like this at the end of 2012. Kindle Firse might have adifferent sized option too

      1. Apple – 50
      2. Kindle – 20
      3. ICS Android – 20
      4. W8 – 5
      5. Others – 5

  • spazby

    i hope content developers believe this so that they can start creating new content for android first, ios later…. then it would become self fulfilling prophecy…

  • tom

    When apple comes out with a sub $300 tablet and refines the combined ios, osx, icloud ecosystem and Windows 8 matures it’s tablet / laptop / desktop OS, android will wither and become a minor player in the phone market.

    • Baller

      Apple won’t come out with a $300 tablet, these rumors have never made any sense at all, the profit margin isn’t there. I’m sure they are just fine selling just the most recent 2 iPads at an extremely large profit. Just like they do with computers, they charge a premium price for solid but not top of the line hardware, good build quality/design and use their scale to reduce cost getting a large profit margin.

      On the other hand, I do think Windows8 is likely to take a big chunk of what would otherwise be Android’s market in tablets, particularly in higher priced tablets. Cheaper tablets like the Fire and Asus Memo will likely continue to use Android and continue to sell well.

  • 666

    1. How is evening out eclipsing?

    2. Where’s Windows 8?

    It’s pretty obvious that Windows 8 will make a huge impact and Windows 9 will make an even bigger one by 2015. The iPad will always have a huge market share. My 2015 prediction:

    iOS: 45%
    Windows: 40%
    Android: 15% (basically $200-300 7″ media and web consumption tablets).

    • ixesr

      Wow you aren’t the brightest bulb in the batch are you? Android has 40 percent now so you think they will only have 15 in 2015? Wow just wow

  • Oskar Wismierski

    iOS is just so boring..

  • Nick Gray

    My money is on Microsoft owning the most market share by 2015. Since Windows 8 is design with tablets in mind, we will be some amazing hardware which give us the ability to transform our laptops into tablet devices. Right now, laptops outsell desktops by a huge margin. Manufacturers simply need to add a touchscreen and a swivel hinge and you have a tablet which is more powerful than the iPad any any Android tablet currently on the market.

    • Baller

      Yep, think “ultrabook” with a swivel hinge and touchscreen.

    • Johnathan Prochaska

      I have to agree with you Nick. Windows 8 tablets will look very appealing to businesses and consumer alike if for no other reason, just because they are familiar and will likely sync, etc with their current computers and systems. I think, as you do, that laptops will evolve into tablets which may cause Android some problems in the future. Android will probably head towards laptops and desktops eventually though so it will be interesting to see if people adopt it or if it will stay limited to the smartphone/media consumption tablet marketplace.

    • ion orov

      Spot on.

      And guess who those manufacturers are? Yeap… the same ones producing Androids.

      Hard to say… but we might see a mass defection to Win8. Everyone except maybe Motorola.

      • Comet

        I agree with your opinions completely. But I think we the consumers will lose if Microsoft wins.
        Microsoft advantage is not that it has the “best” system so to speak. But that it has the best support and the wider reach.
        It’s present at work, it has one of the most popular gaming consoles on the market and so on.
        But as someone who has been using Windows 8 Consumer Preview I must say that their vision is even more restrictive than Apple.
        For instances. If you download an app on Windows 8 it is only available in YOUR account. If someone else logs in the same device you used to get a given app,
        that app won’t be available. If you buy a game on the app store and your son wants to play it on his account, he needs to buy the game again.
        This is just one example. But I found several other issues. For instance if you have two Windows Live accounts, one for work and another for your personal stuff,
        you can’t mix services from each account. You can’t for instance, log with your personal account, and access your work account Skydrive.
        I hope they’ll give people a bit more freedom, but if they don’t and people accept this, it’s the end of the “openness” that used to be the standard in the past.

  • ion orov

    That’s optimistic. For it to happen:

    – Memo and that Google 7″ needs to come out soon, with minimal compromises and good pricing. Get mindshare well before Win8 arrives.

    – Google needs to help makers port current tablets to ICS asap. I don’t know… send groups of elite coders to help these dumbass makers get their act together.

    – Also, maybe Google can offer makers a cut of playstore purchases. Maybe then they can offer tablets that can compete pricewise with the ipad.

    – MS to somehow completely screw up the Win8 launch (hey… it could happen)

    IDK… it feels like its slipping away from El Goog and they seem blissfully unaware.

  • jmon

    to me, android tablets has dominated the ipad since the moment it came out.

  • Marvin Nakajima

    I think it is more likely that the scenario that will play out by 2015 is that it will be a two horse race by MS and Google, Apple coming in 3rd with a comfortable 25% or so of the market. 3 factors contribute to my view:
    1) Steve Jobs is not at Apple anymore, there is no single charismatic leader there now that is pushing for the ‘perfection’ that Steve Jobs was famous for. Take a look at the last 2 products that were released. Can anybody really argue with a straight face that they followed in the footsteps of prior devices in how much they pushed the envelope and stayed ahead of their competitors. The new iPad and the iPhone 4S seem incremental upgrades compared to what came before. If Apple does not become competitive on price by 2014 they will once more become the king of niche.

    2) Google is not stupid, they have their hand in so many different areas that it will be no surprise when they make the next leap to netbook/laptop devices with future Android releases tying yet another device class to the OS. No, I don’t really believe Android will ever become workstations but for the normal consumer and business user the capabilities will be more than sufficient to be productive, secure and robust. I hear they have a new system they may release later in the year that will have better natural language capabilities than Siri. Keeping my eye on that.

    3) Microsoft makes GREAT development tools and if they have platforms that are stable, fast and priced right there is no reason the newest smartphone OS will not gain traction quickly. 2015 is only 3 years away, but when you think about it, the iPad has yet to reach 3 years.

  • Michael Mantion

    If this is shipments from manufactures its hard to say, Apple could ship a 50 million iPad minis and only sell 2 million. My best guess based on market trends I have seen is that the nexus 7 line will give androids much needed traction and sales of IOS and Androids will be the same for 2012. Again shipment is really up to the manufactures/Sales teams. A family could buy 4 nexus 7 for each member of the family instead of 1-2 new iPads. I think the iPad mini’s will not have HD and will be under-powered. Also china could come up with a great android tablet that could go viral.. ya never know. Regardless it is safe to say by 2016 androids will be outselling iOS in the tablet sector 2:1