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Android Tablet Sales Rise, But iPad Still Dominates
Android Tablet Sales Rise, But iPad Still Dominates

By Mark Long
July 21, 2011 1:51PM

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Although Apple's iPad continues to dominate the tablet market, sales of Android-based tablets from multiple vendors jumped in the second quarter. Windows 7 had five percent of the tablet market, and Research In Motion's PlayBook had 3.3 percent. Gartner sees Android vendors continuing to struggle against enterprise gains for Apple's iPad.
 



Android tablet shipments picked up steam in the second quarter, with multiple vendors delivering 4.6 million units and collectively holding a 30.1 percent market share, according to Strategy Analytics. Global tablet shipments reached 15.1 million in the three months through June -- a dramatic rise from 3.5 million tablets shipped in the same quarter last year, the Boston-based research firm said.

Apple continued to lead the tablet market with a 61 percent share after shipping a record 9.3 million iPads, but multiple Android models distributed across multiple countries by vendors such as Samsung, Acer, ASUS and Motorola drove up the volume, noted Strategy Analytics Director Neil Mawston. "However, no Android vendor yet offers a blockbuster model to rival the iPad," Mawston said Thursday. "And demand for many Android vendors' products remains patchy."

Through the efforts of partners such as Fujitsu, tablets based on Windows 7 managed to capture five percent of the market in the quarter. Additionally, Research In Motion's QNX-based PlayBook managed to claim 3.3 percent of the market -- despite a lackluster launch and design issues, Mawston observed.

A Higher Competitive Bar

Google's Android 3.1 Honeycomb platform, which is optimized for tablets, takes Android a step closer to competing better with Apple in terms of user experience and developer friendliness, Mawston said.

"If tablet manufacturers can combine Honeycomb's improved usability with attractive hardware designs and well-stocked app stores, then Android should see robust demand this year," Mawston said. "However, Apple is not standing still, and the iPad 3 updates over the next few quarters are likely to raise the competitive bar even higher."

According to IDC, Android held a 26 percent share of the tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2010 due to a heavy ramp-up, and Android's share in the first quarter of 2011 amounted to 34.4 percent -- relative to Apple's seasonal, production and product transitions in the first three months of the year, noted Vice President Loren Loverde.

"Android is expected to be at 27 percent in the second quarter -- and likely to be between [27 to 34.4 percent] in the second half of 2011," Loverde said Thursday. "That would represent some incremental growth from the fourth quarter of 2010, and we expect some gradual gains thereafter -- which will be highly dependent on new products launched from competitors."

Apple's Enterprise Advantage

What Gartner continues to see from consumers and enterprises alike is a lot of interest in the iPad, noted Vice President Carolina Milanesi on Thursday. "The price difference is not that great and the ecosystem of apps still [too] superior for consumers to ignore iPad," Milanesi said.

By contrast, Android vendors have been struggling to gain consumer interest. "Android's share of the global market has grown in the second quarter as more [devices] have been brought to market, but what we see is still a lot of struggle for Android vendors," Milanesi said.

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said Tuesday that 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies are already deploying or testing the iPad -- up from 75 percent in the first three months of this year. Since Android tablets are mostly being marketed for consumers, Strategy Analytics expects Android's presence in the enterprise space "to remain niche" this year.

"A handful of Android vendors, such as Samsung and Cisco, are making a push into enterprise channels, but their traction has so far been relatively limited," Mawston explained. "We think the Android platform suffers from perceived security issues among some enterprise users, and Android is often more readily associated with entertainment than productivity."
 

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