Google Android tablets as a whole managed to gain on the iPad in 2011, but individual Android tablets failed to threaten Apple in a big way.
to ship 4.7 million Kindle Fire tablets by the end of 2011, according to a new
report from research firm IDC. While that allowed the online retailer to seize
an estimated 16.8 percent of the worldwide tablet market, it wasnt enough to
seriously challenge Apples iPad, whose share stands at 54.7 percent.
Samsung claimed 5.8 percent of the tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2011,
up from 5.5 percent in the previous quarter. Barnes & Noble, whose
lower-priced Nook Tablet is considered a competitor to Amazons Kindle
franchise, saw its tablet market share slip during that same period from 4.5
percent to 3.5 percent.
individual tablets failure to topple the iPad from its throne, Google Android
as a whole made significant gains in the space, expanding its market share from
32.3 percent to 44.6 percent between the third and fourth quarters.
BlackBerrys PlayBook tablet held a 0.7 percent share (down from 1.1 percent),
and Hewlett-Packards webOS dropped from 5 percent in the third quarter of 2011
to zero by the end of the year.
believes Androids gains will continue in the near future. As the sole vendor
shipping iOS products, Apple will remain dominant in terms of worldwide vendor
unit shipments, Tom Mainelli, IDCs research director for mobile connected
devices, wrote in a March 13 note. However, the sheer number of vendors
shipping low-priced, Android-based tablets means that Googles OS will overtake
Apples in terms of worldwide market share by 2015.
But that wont
necessarily present an existential threat to Apple, he added: We expect iOS to
remain the revenue market share leader through the end of our 2016 forecast
period and beyond.
look to increase its lead in the tablet space with the new iPad, scheduled to
release March 16. The next-generation device features a high-resolution Retina
Display, backed by a new A5X processor with quad-core graphics, and a
5-megapixel rear camera capable of shooting 1080p video. It weighs slightly
more than the iPad 2, at 1.4 pounds, and offers comparable battery life. Those
in the U.S. will have the option of purchasing the new iPad with 4G (Long-Term
Evolution) LTE connectivity on either Verizon or AT&T.
In a move that
maintains pressure on its competitors, the new iPad will keep the same prices
as the previous model, starting at $499 for WiFi-only versions and $629 for
those with 4G capability. Prices top out at $699 for the WiFi-only, 64GB model
and $829 for the 64GB model with WiFi and 4G.
tablet rivals, its now officially their move.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.