Ever since the launch of the first Apple iPad in 2010, the Cupertino based tech titan has controlled the tablet market. But low-priced Android models with smaller screens, like the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7, have changed things so much that Apple was forced to launch a 7.9 inch Apple iPad mini to try to grab some market share in that area of the market.
Here comes Android
Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst for IDC’s Tablet Tracker, says that one out of every two tablets sold in this quarter has a screen smaller than 8 inches. Ubrani sees sales of such tablets increasing in 2013 as consumers start to realize that smaller tablets are more suited to their daily needs. This increase in low priced tablets has led IDC to increase its forecast of how many tablets will be shipped globally this year from 172.4 million units to 190.9 million. IDC estimates annual growth in tablet shipments of 11% annually through 2016. By 2017, 350 million slates are expected to be shipped in that one year alone.
Android will be the beneficiary of this trend to low cost tablets with its market share peaking at 48.8% in 2013 compared with IDC's previous estimate of 41.5% The market share of iOS will be negatively impacted by this gain in low priced tablets with the Apple iPad's slice of the global tablet pie dropping from 51% in 2012 to 46% this year. The research firm sees both iOS and Android losing some market share to Windows 8 which is estimated to rise from 1% of the tablet market in 2012 to 7.4% in 2017. Meanwhile, Windows-RT growth is estimated to stay under 3% during the forecast period.
"One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond. Vendors are moving quickly to compete in this space as consumers realize that these small devices are often more ideal than larger tablets for their daily consumption habits."-Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, IDC's Tablet Tracker.
"Microsoft's decision to push two different tablet operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT, has yielded poor results in the market so far. Consumers aren't buying Windows RT's value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8. Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road."-Tom Mainelli, IDC Research Director, Tablets. "
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