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Android Tablets Will Overtake iPad by 2015, Say Analysts

By - Source: IDC | B 46 comments

The number of Android tablet units shipped in a year will overtake Apple's iPad by 2015.

The International Data Corporation reports that worldwide media tablet shipments to retailers rose by 56.1-percent on a sequential basis in 4Q11 to 28.2 million units worldwide. That's an increase of 155-percent from the same time period in 2010. On a whole, 2011 saw 68.7 million units fly across store shelves, and IDC predicts that consumers will eat up 106.1 million tablets in 2012 alone.

In 4Q11, Apple still remained the champ, owning 54.7-percent of the tablet market and pushing out 15.4 million units, up from 11.1 million units in 3Q11. Amazon came in second place, owning 16.8-percent of the worldwide market -- and shipping almost exclusively in the U.S. -- 4.7 million Kindle Fire into the market. Samsung came in third place with a 5.8-percent share followed by Barnes & Noble with its new Nook Tablet (3.5-percent) and Pandigital (2.5-percent).

"As predicted, Android made some strong gains in 4Q11, thanks in large part to the Amazon Kindle Fire's success (the Fire runs a custom version of Google's Android OS)," the report states. "Android grew its market share from 32.3-percent in 3Q11 to 44.6-percent in 4Q11. As a result, iOS slipped from 61.6-percent market share to 54.7-percent; Blackberry slipped from 1.1-percent to 0.-percent. WebOS, which owned 5-percent of the worldwide market in 3Q11, dropped to zero in 4Q11. Looking ahead, IDC expects Android to continue to grow its share of the market at the expense of iOS."

In 2012, IDC predicts that 60 million iPads will ship to retail outlets whereas Android will only ship 46.9 million units. But in 2016 that will likely change, as Apple is only expected to ship 94.7 units that year, eclipsed by 100.8 million Android tablets. Android is actually expected to overtake iPad by 2015 thanks to the sheer number of vendors shipping low-priced, Android-based tablets. Still, iOS is expected to remain the revenue market share leader through the end of IDC's 2016 forecast period and beyond.

Despite the popularity of tablets in 4Q11, ePaper-based eReaders also experienced stronger-than-expected growth. That was due to to sharp price cuts in established markets such as the U.S. and Canada, as well as increasing shipments in regions outside of North America.

"In 4Q11 the worldwide total increased to 10.7 million units, up from 6.5 million units in 3Q11," the firm reports. "That represents a quarter-over-quarter improvement of 64.6-percent and a year-over-year improvement of 64.3-percent. IDC expects growth to continue in 2012 as major players such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo look to expand into new international markets."

Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices, says that publishers in markets outside of North America are only just beginning to warm up to the idea of eBooks. "Once Amazon and others persuade these content owners to embrace digital formats, we expect eBook reader shipments into these regions to increase more rapidly," he said.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    descendency , March 14, 2012 6:09 PM
    This analysis is tremendously under-rating Windows 8 tablets.
  • 13 Hide
    coreym72 , March 14, 2012 6:11 PM
    Ports, ports, ports (as in adapters). I'll take usefulness over coolness any day.
  • 12 Hide
    hoof_hearted , March 14, 2012 6:16 PM
    Once I can play games the equivalent of Skyrim or ME3 on a tablet then I am sold.
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    descendency , March 14, 2012 6:09 PM
    This analysis is tremendously under-rating Windows 8 tablets.
  • 13 Hide
    coreym72 , March 14, 2012 6:11 PM
    Ports, ports, ports (as in adapters). I'll take usefulness over coolness any day.
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , March 14, 2012 6:12 PM
    both apple and android could flounder within months if someone came to market with a truly open product, not walled garden or obsessively concerned with ongoing revenue milking.

    What we need is basically an IBM-PC of handsets launching, and I'm pretty sure something like that will happen before 2016.

    Forecasting 2016 sales based on todays products is just hocus-pocus.
  • 8 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , March 14, 2012 6:13 PM
    descendencyThis analysis is tremendously under-rating Windows 8 tablets.
    I was thinking that exactly.
    I love my TF201, but I think the W8 tabs are going to a more direct competitor to the iStuff. I don't foresee a time when Android tablets are going to be as "idiot-proof" as iPads are and (as a WP7 owner) the upcoming W8 tablets will be.
  • 6 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , March 14, 2012 6:14 PM
    ^To add to that, my 4 year old has mastered my iPad touch and is pretty good with my Windows Phone, but she has a hard time with my Prime.
  • 4 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , March 14, 2012 6:16 PM
    ^ Arrrggh, stupid non-edit-allowing Tom's. I meant iPod, not iPad.
  • 12 Hide
    hoof_hearted , March 14, 2012 6:16 PM
    Once I can play games the equivalent of Skyrim or ME3 on a tablet then I am sold.
  • -5 Hide
    dalethepcman , March 14, 2012 6:21 PM
    In other news, Analitics employee's at IDC were fired en mass after publishing this.

    I have much more faith in Windows 8 overtaking IOS and Android tablets, as only power users/enthusiasts/professionals will still need the power of a desktop. An asus transformer style windows 8 tablet = win!
  • 10 Hide
    maestintaolius , March 14, 2012 6:28 PM
    Oh good, more analysts extrapolating data 4 years out to make predictions about a market that changes on a monthly basis.
  • 8 Hide
    wiyosaya , March 14, 2012 6:33 PM
    With Windows 8 still essentially closed, I am not so confident in the predictions that its tablet form will overtake all other tablets.
  • -6 Hide
    de5_Roy , March 14, 2012 6:43 PM
    android tablets have already overtaken apple ipads.... in terms of the number of unsold tablets!
    credit to tegra soc.
  • -2 Hide
    extremepcs , March 14, 2012 7:10 PM
    If they can be managed like any other Windows computer, Windows 8 tablets will start to crush the others in the enterprise. Mobile deice management in it's current state just plain blows. Using AD and SCCM to manage tablets would be awesome!
  • -7 Hide
    jaber2 , March 14, 2012 7:10 PM
    Apple = Mac, Android = DOS, Windows 8 = Windows, seems as things change things stay the same, MAC was the OS of PC's until DOS and Windows took over, same here, people will stick to what they know, W 8 or 9 will be the tablet OS of choice.
  • 4 Hide
    stingray71 , March 14, 2012 7:32 PM
    I'm confident MS will screw this up some how. Sorry guys, I'm not seeing the appeal of W8 at all especially in the mobile market. Android is turning into a nice solid OS and is steadily gain a fan base. I really like my ICS Xoom.

    Only way W8 has a chance is if the provide Office suite for W8 tablets.

    With W8 preview receiving mixed reviews at best, why would anyone be compelled to buy a W8 mobile device?
  • -4 Hide
    Houndsteeth , March 14, 2012 7:35 PM
    Love it...these pundits are about as accurate as weather prognosticators, or even the soothsayers of yore. I wonder which small animal they killed so they could read the entrails and make their predictions...
  • -4 Hide
    CaedenV , March 14, 2012 7:48 PM
    Once Office is available for iPad and Win8 it will be the end of Android tablets for most schools and businesses.

    Personally I think that most analysts will be blown away at the Win8 tablet sales. I know win8 is not the best thing we were hoping for on the desktop, but on my touch screen netbook it is the best thing sense sliced bread. And screw the ARM based stripped down stuff, people want cheap x86 tablets with HD2000 or better graphics.
  • 5 Hide
    subaru41 , March 14, 2012 7:57 PM
    I think it will be more of a Android and Windows Tablet fight for supremacy with Apple right behind them in 2013.
  • 4 Hide
    john15v16 , March 14, 2012 8:07 PM
    Android tablets will dominate over both iOS and windows tablets in all market segments. I do think it will take the enterprise markets sometime to pull away from MS due to MS deep roots in today's IT culture. If MS is successful in swaying the public's perception of the desktop/cloud market to their favor, they may stand a fighting chance. That's a BIG IF however.
  • 3 Hide
    dheadley , March 14, 2012 8:21 PM
    For once the headline is believable. I could see Android Tablets overtaking the iPad (original) by 2015!

    Have they even made it up to that sales mark yet, even with the Amazon Kindle Fire?
  • -5 Hide
    obsama1 , March 14, 2012 8:27 PM
    Just like the smartphone market. iPhone dominated, but then iOS got dominated by Android. Over 50% for Android, but it took a few years. The tablet market will be an exact replica of what has already happened. People will realize that function > form.
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