IDC data shows Android also rules the tablet market

IDC data shows Android also rules the tablet market

Summary: While Apple caused many people to take an interest in the tablet market, Google jumped right in and Android is the leading tablet operating system as well as the leading smartphone operating system.


More and more people are buying tablets, especially when you see them for less than $100 during holiday sales. IDC just released their latest tablet forecast that shows slower growth in 2013 and in the near future.

When Apple first released the iPad many people said there was no market for tablets and for most people they still remain a device for convenience and entertainment rather than an essential tool like a smartphone or a computer. I just bought a Nokia Lumia 2520 since it meets me entertainment needs at a lower price than my iPad.


It is interesting to see that smaller tablets have been on the rise over the last couple of years, while many have also been moving to larger phones. Will we see people moving back to smaller phones, like the Apple iPhone or Moto X as smaller tablet adoption rises?

Like the smartphone world, the majority of tablet share is held by Android with iOS in second place. Windows is in a very distant third place, much like Windows Phone as well.


The IDC forecast shows Windows gaining quite a bit of market share over the next four years with Android and iOS each losing some to make room for Windows. With Microsoft moving to a two platform strategy, I wonder if we will see Windows Phone tablets in the future to make up this market share or if the full version of Windows will run on more tablets.

Related ZDNet tablet coverage:

Topics: Mobility, Android, Apple, Google, iPad, Tablets

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  • There's Android tablets and there's AOSP-based tablets

    I'd like to see a drill-down of the Android tablet data showing:

    o Open Handset Alliance (OHA)-manufactured tablets (e.g., Samsung, Google's Nexus)
    o Android Open Source Project (AOSP)-based Android with Google Play access (e.g., Amazon, ArchOS)
    o AOSP-based Android with no Google Play access

    Because there's at least one Android blogger who believes that Amazon Kindle HD tablets are NOT Android tablets:

    "Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX and Android: Some important perspective
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Correction: Amazon Kindle HD tablets don't have Google Play access

      At least, by default.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Besides, most of those Android are $$30-100 noname devices (China/India)

        You just can not mix it up with real tablets.
        • Birthday calories

          You just keep telling yourself that if it doesn't say Apple or Samsung on the back, it doesn't count... if that makes you feel better. It reminds me of how calories don't "count" if they're consumed on your birthday.

          These cheap Android tablets may not be barn burners, but they get the job done for millions of people who can't afford to drop three or four bills on a device.
        • better than i pads

          they still support an sd card
    • derivitives

      Obviously "some" here would view Amazon tablets as Linux so certainly they would be Android too. :-)
      • greywolf7: "derivatives"

        OHA-manufactured tablets have core Android services not found in AOSP-based tablets (peruse the article I linked). And not all AOSP-based tablets have access to Google Play, the Google Map app, etc.

        Regarding derivatives, Ubuntu is derived from Debian, Mint Debian Edition is derived from Debian and Linux Mint is derived from Ubuntu. Ubuntu, Mint Debian Edition and Linux Mint are all derivatives based, ultimately, on Debian which is a very popular base distro (as is AOSP). But, while there are many similarities, there are some substantial differences among the various distros. [Note: there are more Debian derivatives than I mentioned in this example.]

        In addition, WebOS is Linux-based and I'm sure there are still some [not many, though] HP TouchPad tablets still in use. And looking forward, Sailfish OS, Firefox OS and Tizen are also Linux-based, but are not related to Android.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Yeah

      why? Because you don't like the numbers?
      • slickjim: "why?"

        Because I'm curious. :)
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Its those dogy Android USB drives

    Its the dodgy USB drives that are used to pirate TV shows in Asia that is responsible for the vast majority of Android 'tablet' growth. They register as an Android tablet.

    I also remember Gartner suggesting that Windows Tablets and Phones would have outpaced iOS tablets by 2013... Haven't seen that happen.
    • The analysts rely on Microsoft money

      Microsoft pays them many millions for their insightful analysis. Of course it says what they want to hear. There used to be honest tech trend analysis companies, but in the early '90s they starved to death. Anyway, read up on "Microsoft evangelism and James Plamondon" and you will see that these paid reports and the placed trade articles based on them are key tools for achieving the key objectives.
    • a qaud core tablet

      a qaud core tablet with one year warranty can cost a mind blowing 100 greenies(tax included)
  • context

    apple is one company supporting one os multiple versions

    android is offered through multiple companies with multiple versions, as is windows.

    for apple to maintain this level of market share against such a large group of competitors is pretty awesome in and of itself. It really makes me wonder at these type of arguments which decry how apple is loosing market share, and yet can wipe the flow with almost any one or two competitors combined.
    • But Apple isn't maintaining market share...

      They lost over 10 points in one year. Some might call that free fall. Windows' market share may be small, but at least it's growing.
      • in addition to that

        IPads sales have had YoY decline and consecutive quarters of decline.

        Almost every important metric for apple has been on the decline, except total number of iPhones sold pet quarter.

        Samsung already makes more than apple on phones and they could just as well do the same for tablets. Cook isn't really do a very good job.
      • ipad's big fail

        It's extremely hard work and laborious get large amounts of data on and off ipads, at least with Android and Windows devices, you can use cards and USB storage.
        Alan Smithie
    • Yeah umm...

      I have to agree with Cybersaurusrex, 25% drop isn't really maintaining anything! It is hemorrhaging Market Share and if Android gets 75% they'll have reached Critical Mass and Apple will be lucky to be in the teens. Their phones are already back at the market share they were at 4 years ago and the Tablets aren't holding up.
    • i dont

      its a cancer on the technologcal world a patent troll
  • Market share...meh

    Its meaningless, except to those who don't understand business or sustainability. Give it a couple of years and lets see who is left with an ongoing profitable market share. My guess is it will be Apple and...?
    • apple brain tumor

      remember mac where is it now its just an also ran