updated 11:55 am EDT, Wed September 14, 2011
DC data shows iPad up in spring tablet shares
Apple managed to gain market share in tablets at the very time that many of its new competitors were supposed to be taking that share away, IDC said Wednesday. Having full access to data from the past spring, it found that the iPad had gained share, moving up from 65.7 percent at the start of the year to 68.3 percent. Multiple Android tablets' arrivals only led to Google's share shrinking, dropping from 34 percent in early 2011 to 26.8 percent mid-year.
It's suggested that RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook may have cannibalized some of Android's potential share: its debut gave it 4.9 percent of the market.
Analysts also revised their figures to challenge others' claims that the iPad would gradually lose ground. In the soon to finish summer quarter, IDC expected Android to lose even more share, dropping down to 23 percent. A recovery could occur in the fall, to 25.9 percent, but Apple would eventually drop closer to 50 percent at an undefined point in the future.
HP's share through its $100 TouchPad run may have ironically put it into substantial competition. Summer sales will have given it 4.7 percent share, and it could still have significant share with the October follow-up. Combined with the clearout pricing and HP's ultimate plan to exit webOS hardware, however, it would cease to be a factor.
Tablets as a whole saw their shipments surge 304 percent year-over-year and even 89 percent just on a season-to-season basis. Virtually all of that demand came from iPad growth. The sphere would continue to grow through the back half of 2011 as even more competitors arrived but also as Apple worked to keep ahead.
The shift in perceptions of market share helps validate growing perceptions that Android won't repeat the performance it has enjoyed so far in smartphones. Legal action from Apple notwithstanding, Android tablets haven't had the luxuries of lower pricing, carrier distribution, and strong hardware reviews of their smartphone parallels. Reviews have mentioned a severe lack of apps as well as a slightly disjointed interface and hardware that is often heavier and slower than Apple's.
A companion look at e-readers saw the category shrink in the spring and grow at a slower but still fast 167 percent over the same point a year ago. Amazon still held the top spot in overall share at 51.7 percent of devices being Kindles, but Barnes & Noble was now at 21.2 percent with the Nook. Demand would see a big spike towards the end of 2011 and see the total mix climb from the originally thought 16.2 million to 27 million.
Some of that would come with many modern readers dipping below the $100 mark, along with the expected Kindle tablet. The Amazon slate wouldn't really compete against the iPad, however, since most believe it will be deliberately limited to reading and handfuls of Amazon content.