iPad to extend lead on Android tablets: IDC

The two-horse race between Apple's iPad and Android-based devices continues to rage on. Other tablet makers have been left out in the cold, but will Windows 8 disrupt the tablet space?

The two-horse race between Apple's iPad and Android-based devices continues to rage on. Other tablet makers have been left out in the cold, but will Windows 8 disrupt the tablet space?

(Credit: IDC)

Research firm IDC expects a surge in tablet shipments this year, and next, with Apple's iPad taking a greater market share at the expense of its Android rival.

Not only will the worldwide tablet market increase to 107.4 million in 2012, up from 69.6 per cent in 2011, the iPad will reclaim some of the market share it lost to Android last year.

This comes just after IDC's parent company, IDG, had forecast Android to outpace iPad sales in the enterprise space within the next 12 months. According to the poll, most tablet users opted for an iPad, but first-time buyers indicated that they would gravitate towards an Android-based tablet.

Talk about mixed signals.

The grip that both Apple and Google has on the tablet market is staggering. The two companies have continued to compete in the tablet space, leaving the remaining tablet makers out to pasture.

Having said that, the slither of red representing "other" tablet makers is the most interesting figure.

In 2011, when there was 'actual' competition outside the race between the iPad and Android-based tablets, we saw rival devices including the Hewlett-Packard (HP)TouchPad and RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook.

Both tablets ultimately sank, the TouchPad's revival notwithstanding.

It's no surprise that in 2012, forecast figures show a decrease in competition outside the two top-ranking tablet behemoths. RIM is expected to drop from 1.7 per cent of the market share to 1 per cent. This follows the departure of the low-end 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook, following poor sales.

But Windows-running tablets aren't taken into account. That's the figure everyone wants to see, and IDC is playing it safe. While Windows tablet shipment predictions appear in its PC tracking reports, it is not included in the tablet space. The research firm will consolidate all media tablets — including Windows devices — into the media tablet tracker, in the following quarter.

IDC hasn't remained optimistic about changes to the market share rankings, although noted that the release of Windows-running tablets will likely push the overall shipment numbers up.

"We don't expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market," said IDC research director Tom Mainelli.

Via ZDNet US

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