updated 12:05 pm EDT, Thu May 5, 2011
Nielsen gives iPad 82pc of tablet share in spring
The launch of a wave of Android-based tablets has so far done little to cut into the iPad's share, Nielsen found in a new study. Apple had a combined 82 percent share of US tablets at the start of the spring split almost evenly between 3G and Wi-Fi models. The newcomer Motorola Xoom had two percent, but even established Android tablets like the Dell Streak and Samsung Galaxy Tab had just three and four percent respectively, the study said.
Unlike their phone counterparts, Android tablets so far haven't caught on in significant numbers even after heavy marketing meant to recreate the success of the original Droid in fall 2009. Higher prices for similar features, a lack of OS polish, and just a few dozen tablet-native apps have largely made the platform unattractive. Although just now changing, most Android slates are also sold through stores that ask for or require a 3G contract.
The study also gave an opportunity to look at how tablets as a whole were taking time away from other devices. Computers lost the most attention after 32 percent of notebook owners and 34 percent of desktop owners were either using their PCs less or, in a small number of cases, giving them up entirely. Only 27 percent of netbook owners were drifting away, but a much higher ratio than usual, five percent of the total, were quitting netbooks altogether.
Tablets' effects were also pronounced on dropping use of e-readers (27 percent) and MP3 players (also 27 percent). Some owners reported a reverse effect: nearly as many were using a handheld game system more as were those using it fewer (26 percent versus 25), while use of networked TV media hubs, smartphones, and Internet-capable TVs themselves had gone up. Nielsen didn't explain this effect, though they might have reflected the more frequent use either away from home or on the couch, where the tablet can be used to multitask during a TV show or even serve as the remote control.
About 77 percent said they were using their tablets for purposes that would have otherwise needed a computer.
Among the reasons for picking the tablet over the computer, the sheer portability was the dominant factor at 31 percent. The next closest played into Apple's hands as 21 percent thought the ease of use was important, while 15 percent valued the instant-on access. Just 10 percent valued the sheer number of features.