updated 07:35 am EDT, Mon April 11, 2011
Gartner sees iPad over Android until 2015
A fresh long-term protection from Gartner has given Apple the lead in the tablet market for at least the next four years. In spite of the Xoom and other Android 3.0 tablets, the iPad is still expected to dominate 2011 with 68.7 percent share and to only gradually decrease. It would have 63.5 percent of the tablet arena in 2012 and would still have the largest share in 2015 at 47.1 percent.
Android would have 19.9 percent share this year owing to the launch of the first real wave of direct iPad competitors, such as the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, but its growth wouldn't be a repeat of Android on phones. It would reach 24.4 percent next year and only gain steam near 2015, when it would hit 38.6 percent.
The BlackBerry PlayBook might end up helping Apple. Its inaugural year would see it get 5.6 percent and just 6.6 percent a year later, but it would eventually carve out 10 percent by the 2015 mark. HP might risk repeating what happened to Palm in the webOS phone era by getting four percent share for the TouchPad but gradually dropping down to three percent by 2015. Intel and Nokia would get MeeGo to 1.1 percent this year but have no success getting it much further.
Research VP Carolina Milanesi saw the iPad's extended lead coming from a classic mistake of companies competing with Apple. Many were rushing out their hardware with attempts to focus on bigger specifications and were only just thinking about apps and even the quality of the entire experience.
"[They] are making the same mistake that was made in the first response wave to the iPhone, as they are prioritizing hardware features over applications, services and overall user experience," she said. "Tablets will be much more dependent on the latter than smartphones have been, and the sooner vendors realize that the better chance they have to compete head-to-head with Apple."
Gartner wasn't entirely persuaded by Google's reassertion of its openness and believed that it had struck a "new licensing model" for Android 3.0 tablets that would prevent the poor experiences and rampant splintering that have sometimes defined Android on phones. The implementation would improve the baseline quality but prevent the rush to the bottom in price and could cap market share potential by preventing very cheap tablets.
MeeGo and webOS likely wouldn't get much traction unless they could also get more smartphone owners, which may be impossible for MeeGo with only experimental commitment from Nokia.