Android, Apple Lead Tablet Market, Surface Sales Slow
Global tablet shipments reached 51.7 million units in the second quarter of 2013, with Google’s Android platform securing a robust 67 percent global share, while Apple iOS platform declined further to 28 percent, according to a report from IT research firm Strategy Analytics.
"Apple iOS shipments were 14.6 million iPads in the second quarter of 2013, which declined 14 percent annually. In the same quarter a year ago, the first Retina display iPads were launched, which could partly explain the decline as there were no new models in this quarter," Peter King, director of tablets at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "However, to compensate that, iPad Mini, which was not available a year ago, now freely available was expected to take the figure higher than 14.6 million."
Global branded tablet shipments reached 36.2 million units in the second quarter of 2013, up 47 percent from 24.6 million shipped in the same period last year. A 43 percent surge in white-box tablets—tablets made from a combination of commonly available parts—helped push the overall tablet market to 51.7 million units, as branded tablet sales slowed thanks to a dearth of new, exciting models on the market.
"Android is now making steady progress due to hardware partners like Samsung, Amazon, Google and White-Box tablets which, despite the fact that branded OEMs are lowering price-points and putting pressure on the White-Box manufacturers, are still performing well," King said.
Microsoft captured a minor 4.5 percent global tablet share in the second quarter of 2013, and while there may be an uptick in Windows RT shipments in the third quarter thanks to deep price cuts by all the partners still involved in the RT Market, the products are still not cheap, though the report noted they are much more where they should be to compete.
Microsoft has reduced prices by $150 and other vendors even more, but the shortage of apps continues to be a problem, with seemingly little incentive for developers to work on the platform. In addition to the Strategy Analytics report, Microsoft’s annual 10-K report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which was published on July 30, made the situation with the Surface tablet appear even more dire.
The two tablet models the company sells brought in revenue of $853 million, less than the $900 million write-down Microsoft took on the unsold masses of its first tablet model, the Surface RT. Meanwhile, Microsoft upped its advertising expenses by 10 percent—equaling $1.4 billion, to push the Windows 8 operating system and the Surface tablets.