Apple's iPad is the leading tablet in Europe, though Android slates, the Blackberry PlayBook and HP TouchPad can duke it out for 30 percent of the addressable market iPad doesn't own.
Tablets based on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform
and other operating systems have a better shot at challenging Apple's
(NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad in Europe, but they're still trailing the incumbent in
terms of price and content provisions, according to Forrester Research.
The iPad has sold more than 28 million units worldwide since
it launched in April 2010. Forrester said the slate has more than 80
percent of the
market share in the United States, where it's currently facing limited
competition from Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook, HP's
TouchPad and Android-based
"Honeycomb" tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said
Aug. 9 that the iPad has 70 percent
market share in Europe.
That remaining, addressable 30 percent presents a crucial
opportunity for PlayBooks, TouchPads and Android machines from Acer, Motorola
Epps, who surveyed nearly 14,000 consumers in France, Germany,
Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Britain, as well as product
strategists from OEMs, phone carriers and retailers, said EMEA
(Europe, Middle East, and Africa) will account for 14.5 million, or 30 percent
of worldwide consumer tablet sales in 2011.
These iPad alternatives may have a better chance of
competing with the iPad in Europe than in the United States because Apple has a smaller
retail and brand presence there than in the United States. Specifically, Apple has 52
Apple Stores in Europe compared to 238 Apple Stores in the United States.
Of course, there are downsides to the non-iPad rivals'
strategies. Epps pointed to the gross fragmentation that exists among non-iPad
tablet competition. This is particularly true for Android Honeycomb machines,
for which there are multiples OEMs, operators and niche players.
Moreover -- and this is a big problem for most iPad
alternatives -- non-iPad tablet prices are too high. The 16GB iPad and iPad
base versions begin at $500, while most base Honeycomb tablets are roughly
Epps sees low-cost Android tablets from Huawei and ZTE forcing
current Android OEMs to slash their starting prices.
Non-iPad slates are already being discounted in the United States. The
16GB TouchPad started at $500 but was heavily discounted to $380 this weekend by Woot
. Amazon began selling the 16GB PlayBook
for $499, but that price is now $440
Finally, iPad rivals can't compete with Apple's content
or channel strategy at present. Android arguably has the best opportunity given
Google's clout, but there are reportedly only 200-plus Honeycomb-tailored
applications, compared to more than 100,000 iPad-specific apps.
But which, specifically, of the Android tablet suppliers
has a good shot at challenging the iPad in Europe? Epps said Sony, which has a
strong brand and channel presence in Europe, may have some success with its
upcoming Sony S1 tablet. However, Sony tends to price high.
In the United States, that challenger could be Amazon, which is
expected to sell a low-cost Android tablet this fall for under $300. At that
price, the competition could get steeper for the iPad on the domestic front.