Informa: Android tablets to close gap on Apple iPad in 2015

According to the latest forecasts from Informa Telecoms & Media, Android tablet sales will be neck and neck with the iPad in 2015 with 87 million and 90 million unit sales, respectively. Although Apple has dominated this space since the launch of the iPad in 2010, this is set to change with the introduction of low-cost Android tablets, the wider launch of Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and the possibility of other major brands such as Amazon launching tablets on the OS.

“We have seen a huge explosion in the tablet market in recent years, driven primarily by the iPad, and we estimate that the market will go from strength to strength, growing from under 20 million tablets sold in 2010, to over 230 million in 2015,” comments David McQueen, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, in the press release. “We expect Apple to retain its leading market share until 2015 but only just. From 2013, as cheaper and more advanced Android tablets enter the market, we forecast that sales will pick up considerably, eventually surpassing iPad sales in 2016.”

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Apple currently has 75% of the market but this will drop to just 39% in 2015. Meanwhile Android will see a huge increase in its market share, as the devices and the ecosystem around the platform improve. By 2015, it will have 38% market share, putting it on a par with the iPad.

“Three factors have proven to be decisive in the success and failure of tablets: brand; access to distribution channels; and product quality, including the application environment offered. At the moment, the iPad leads in all three areas but Apple’s edge is likely to wane as the quality of the competing products and application environments improves,” adds McQueen.

It is anticipated that, once Windows 8.0 is launched, there will be a variety of tablets available in the market based on Intel and ARM architecture. These are most likely to include a Nokia device as well as a number from the traditional PC vendors.

RIM’s PlayBook is expected to show only modest growth early on following its launch as some mobile operators have shown to be reticent to carry the device as they are struggling with the business model owing to it initially being Wi-Fi only. However, volumes will be buoyed by the inclusion of Android apps on the device and the introduction of cellular connectivity (HSPA+ and LTE versions are expected before end-2011).

“Most mobile operators are expected to focus on supporting iOS and Android tablets in line with demand, and their current indifferent support for Windows, BlackBerry OS (QnX), webOS and MeeGo tablets will prove decisive in shaping consumers’ purchasing decisions in the short term. However, it is those devices that can also dominate the consumer-electronics sector and online retail channels as well as nurture their current partnerships with the mobile operators that will win out,” concludes McQueen.

Source: Informa UK Ltd.

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69 Comments

    1. Four years is a lifetime when it comes to mobile devices or computer tech in general. It’s certainly possible that as Apple scales up production and continues to offer fairly priced, high-quality tablets, they could have an even bigger lead. The future is quite unpredictable. However, with Apple’s reserve cash and retail distribution channel, Apple has the most leverage of all those rival companies, so this prediction is really just being based on speculation.

    1. you’re right. I was about to chime in and say this was hallway believable – but I hadn’t accounted for where apple would be in 2015.

      In one sense it is believable – it took a droid 4 years to make a decent competitor to the iPhone 1.

        1. Of course it does. Without market share, Apple wouldn’t have a third of the devs it has now, and fewer people would be buying iPhones, which would make it a niche device…

        2. If Android market share were to approach iPad share, Android would fall into the Netbook paradigm: cheap crap with nothing going for but a low price; low margins and razor thin profitability. Apple would still maintain 80-90% of tablet profits. But if Apple is able to continue succeeding in chipping away at Android via patent suits, it is doubtful that Android tablets have much of a future.

    2. Everybody’s Waiting for the Next BIG Thing …… And ….. Apple will have it ……

      Gotta laugh when HoneyScum and Windoze 8 comes out …. Yea what about when they come out, dummie, what ya thinkin’ Apple will have, stupid retard …..

      End of Message

  1. Microsoft dominated in global desktop OS market share because they were allowed to enter into illegal contracts with OEMs that financially penalized the OEMs who offered alternate OSs.

    Android gained a foothold in US smartphone market share because iPhone was only available on AT&T.

    Android on tablets has none of these advantages.

  2. This is the iPod all over again ,you can build and count all you want but you need to sell them.they (droids)tablets are not selling ,it doesn’t matter how cheap .crap is crap !stick to phones ,oh wait you copied them as well and are going to get spanked.

  3. “Apple currently has 75% of the market..”

    Says who? Based on what? The number of units shipped? Just because Android tablets are sitting in a warehouse gathering dust doesn’t mean they’re in the market. The true measurement should be web traffic and iPad accounts for more than 95% of web traffic among tablets in the US. That’s a true measurement of what’s in the wild.

    1. Looking at web traffic is a crappy way to measure tablet (iPad & rip-odd devices) numbers. This will significantly underestimate the Android numbers. People love the iPad and use them extensively. The Android tablets? Seriously … who wants to use one of them online?

        1. Not true …. Only use – simply not true …..

          They make great picture frames devices ….. And you can even get your emails, if you like ….. Come on give credit where credit is due ….

          1. I hear they make great serving trays, if your model doesn’t have too many buttons. In fact this is the only use that doesn’t suffer because of the terrible battery life.

  4. I can probably agree… Apple will most likely come out with something better than the tablet and people will stop using tablets and go with the new iProduct.. there for android tablets will soar….

    most likely that wont happen though… people think Apple is a fad that will wash away.. they keep forgetting that they are the company that keeps changing the way people think… and the others just copy.. and don’t do a good job of it.

  5. Look four years back: No iPad, no iPhone, no iOS. Nobody could possibly have predicted today’s market.

    Look four years forward: Nobody can predict the next disruption. A forecast with exact decimals (38% market share?) is hilarious.

  6. As usual Baloney. Hogwash.

    today one of the payola crew came out with the reasonwhy apple shares fell today. Non-adoption by salarymen in Japan.

    They will stoop so low. the next weeks will be all about the ipad-killer fro Amazon.

  7. This “analysis” is based on one thing only – that Android tablets will be cheaper than iPads.

    WRONG! Motorola, RIM, HP, and Samsung have proven they can’t beat Apple’s prices, certainly not make a profit. That won’t change in the future, either. The only way Android tablets can beat iPads on price is to be smaller, use a crappier screen, and really cheap out on the components. Even that doesn’t save them much.

    1. This is a very good point. The other manufacturer’s seem to be aiming for the same price point as Apple, if not higher. Given Apple’s volume and dominance of the key supplies, it will be difficult to undercut Apple’s prices and still make a quality tablet. Apple seems to believe that this is one area where price is one of the keys to success and are motivated to aggressively price the iPad (but still keep great margins!). They could make something cheaper and crappy (instead of the same price and crappy) in the future, but a key point in the analysis was that people want quality. Unlike phones, where it can be stripped down and still be serviceable as a phone with a fancier screen, the tablet has few areas that can be skimped on without compromising the quality of the essence of the device.

      Android will improve, but fragmentation and security will still be problems, though probably less than for phones.

      As most have pointed out, in four years the market will have changed significantly. Certainly, Apple has been setting the stage for the distinction between the iPad and desktop/laptops to be blurred – iOS-inspired feel to Lion, Mac App store, with software prices being lower (I’m thinking Aperture here), and the ease of integrating everything digital via iCloud. Although I won’t claim to know exactly where this is going, by 2015 Apple will have advanced this paradigm significantly. That “walled garden” will set them apart from the other devices that offer you a life with one OS on your phone, one on your tablet, and one on your desktop/laptop. The technically proficient will be able to make such a hodgepodge work seamlessly, I’m sure. The other 90% of the tablet consumers will find Apple products more appealing because they are “easy to use”.

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