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. Of course it will and by then Apple will have it own search engine and Apple maps. The iPad will be phasing out and the Apple virtual iOS device will replace it.
    Connected to the mind of the user with movies and Internet stream straight to the optical cortex. Why need a device when you wear it like a watch and see it through your eyes in full 3D 360 degrees in space. Wow, Apple throws another paradigm shifting device for Goggle and Microsoft to innovate from!

    Horse manure if I ever smelled it!!!!

  2. Android won’t exist in its current form in 2015. It will be a fragmented pile of hurt as each tablet supplier tries to work around Apple and Oracle IP.

  3. So this guy has to write something about computing and phone companies because that is his job. So he used his schooled abilites to write in English to say: In the post mouse era it will be Apple and somebody else. Duh. The interesting question is, who will the other player be? Microsoft needs to charge for it, but, Google is giving it away free. Who knows what will happen. Not this guy.

    What does he think it will take. “dominate the consumer-electronics sector and online retail channels as well as nurture their current partnerships with the mobile operators.” Hmm. Sounds like a Microsoft plan to me. Do evil? Who cares. Just win.

  4. Hmm. They talk about improvements in the competitor products – new versions of Android, but fail to note the upgrade path for the iPad. So, if Apple continues to produce the same device for three years, and the other guys upgrade continuously (to the point where they actually copy the iPad convincingly), they might almost catch up. Unspoken bad assumptions are still bad assumptions.

    They also fail to note that since the Android UI is substantially a ripoff of Apple’s patented intellectual property, it may not even exist in 2015.

  5. What’s with the year 2015 for all these Apple-is-doomed soothsayers? There seems to be a consensus that 2015 is the year when their dreams will come true and Apple will no longer be the undisputed leader.

    2015 is also easy to throw out because, hey, if 2011 predictions don’t happen four years down the road, who is going to remember?

    The basis for this prediction appears to be the lower price these competitors will supposedly charge. That assumes as a fact that Apple will stand still in terms of pricing and quality.

    It also ignores basic human logic. If something worth $500 is way inferior to something worth $700, people with common sense will willingly pay the $200 extra to get the better product. The only scenario where price may be a big factor is if the competing tablets are priced at $200 or so, and are able to provide just slightly inferior quality.

    Anyway, they’re talking about a market Apple doesn’t even compete in. Apple is not in the tablet market – Apple is in the iPad market.

  6. An awesome device is one thing; an awesome device in Apple’s eco-system is awesomeness

    What the dorks at Informa failed to analyze is that people likely would first buy a piece of junk tablet then be disappointed and wind up buying an iPad from the whole experience.

    A broken iPad is still better than a new competitor’s tablet. Ok, I’m just throwing that in.

  7. In a worst case scenario, following the logic published in the article, I can see Apple dropping to 50-60%, but only if Windows has actually come along with a product that is massively adopted by end users, (and combined with whatever state Android driven Tabs are in, et. al, also assuming massive adoption by then).

    It’s a fairly pretentious little article, but it’s not far fetched based on the way the world has traditionally gone with regard to Apple products. But alas, I for one am thrilled to report from my POV that, it seems the world is learning a new way – one thing is for sure – time will tell.

    Competition can be a beautiful thing, just remember that you’re not voting with opinions expressed verbally and in writing – you’re voting with your dollars. If you don’t want to see Windows spring back from having one foot in the grave, then by all means, pick something that doesn’t use Windows OS. And if you honestly prefer Apple iOS over Android, then put your money where your mouth is.

  8. John Gruber of Daring Fireballs has this to say about BLOATED fantasy android tablet numbers:

    “Breakdown by Google of Android devices in use by screen size. “Xlarge” is defined as any screen 7 inches or larger. By Google’s count, only 0.9% of activated in-use devices are tablets. Multiply that by the 135 million total Android “devices” that Larry Page announced last week during Google’s quarterly analyst call, and you get 1.21 million tablets. Compare that to the 28.73 million iPads Apple sold through the end of June”

  9. With these light weight operating systems, the key will be can Apple successfully continue to maintain tight security over using the device for business, banking, and other sensitive transactions. In my mind, that will be the big differentiation between Android, Windoze and iOS. The walled garden so to speak, will look better and better as more and more viruses and compromised software is introduced into Android and Windoze ecosystems. And performance will be better without having to run all the security software.

    1. Nice analysis. Couldnt agree with you more. Security is paramount. Also the ability to have a cohesive user experience, where developers know the rules, the customer knows what to expect when buying these apps and Apple keeps the product quality high and design remains the highest priority.

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