updated 12:55 pm EDT, Mon September 27, 2010
Analyst says 25.5m iPads, 6m Galaxy Tabs in 2011
Apple is poised to control the tablet market for at least the next year, Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley said today. He estimated that Apple would ship 13.4 million iPads in 2010 and 25.5 million in 2011. The next closest, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, would reach 1.5 million by the end of the year and move another six million in 2011.
He saw the combined Android platform faring better, with Dell and Motorola contributing two million and three million tablets of their own next year, but Apple would still have the lion's share due to both its headstart and its positive UI experience. It may also be "conservative" as shortages are still expected to run through at least the end of the year. If Apple can improve its scale, iPad numbers might go higher, Walkley said.
Android would gain some ground but by contrast "could struggle" against the iPad. The researcher noted that Google itself admitted Android 2.2 wasn't optimized for tablets and wouldn't say whether or not Android 3.0, usually codenamed Gingerbread, would address the problem. Most apps currently have to be custom-written to use the extra screen size, and stock interface elements don't usually scale correctly.
Having a release schedule subject to Google's release schedule for Android also reduced the amount of control over when and how a tablet would arrive. Companies have had tablet hardware ready but haven't launched due to a wait on Google, Walkley said.
The predictions may also lean further still in favor of Apple due to other platforms' stalled efforts. Walkley factored two million RIM-created tablets into 2010 sales and five million into 2011, but recent details have suggested that a BlackBerry tablet is far away. RIM is rumored to be rearchitecting its tablet platform and possibly the whole BlackBerry line to use QNX's real-time OS as its foundation, a project that could leave the tablet months away.