updated 10:45 am EDT, Tue April 24, 2012
Forrester sees Amazon undermining Google
A new long-term estimate by Forrester Research has painted a strong picture for Apple in the tablet space. It saw Apple keeping its lead even up to 2016, when it saw the iPad having 53 percent of the space. A total of 760 million tablets would ship that year.
Android would play a significant part in curbing the iPad's growth, but Google was facing a sincere risk of having its platform hijacked by others, Forrester said. Around 2014, it expected "proprietary" Android tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire to overtake those officially part of the regular Android platform, leaving the official Android not just smaller than proprietary by 2016 but smaller than Windows 8 and later versions.
Google has publicly been begrudgingly mentioning Amazon's success and is rumored to be developing a cheap reference Android tablet to reassert the official Android platform as the main one. Although Google touts Android's customization as an advantage, it may be frustrated by devices like the Kindle Fire, as their lack of official services like Google Play and YouTube mean Google doesn't get any revenue other than web ads.
Windows 8 wouldn't start accelerating until 2014 as it would take time for a proper ecosystem to fall into place and give a "fully capable" experience in the Metro interface, instead of having to revert to the desktop. Microsoft might have trouble ever catching up, as by the time it was ready to grow it would be "chasing a leader with a multi-year head start," Forrester said in reference to Apple.
One potential wildcard was the addition of "frames," or extensions like docking stations and keyboard docks. These add features to tablets that suit them to more traditional desktop features and fill in many of the gaps. Researchers saw tablets truly starting to replace PCs in 2013 and starting to bite sharply into notebook sales. Desktops might actually benefit by seeing users consider tablets as complements to their desktops where they're active replacements for notebooks. [via TechCrunch]