iPad to dominate the proceedings in the media tablet space till 2015. That should not come as a surprise given the faring of Android tablets. Gartner in its recent report highlighted Apple’s dominance in the tablet space till year 2015. Apple which will hold a market share of 68.7% in 2011 will see its market share declining and would end up with 47.1% share in 2016. During the same period, Android will see its market share rising to 38.6% till 2015. The inflection point would probably come in the year 2016 when Android might take over Apple’s tablets. But that should not be the only measure for success.
Tablets are treading the same path as smartphones. When iPhone was introduced it isn’t the hardware which won the game for Apple. It’s the apps. When iPad was first released, it again isn’t the hardware, may be to some extent it is. But the apps that go with the iPad is the clinching factor. We are more than 100 Android tablets down and are still looking for that elusive iPad beater. The tablet which came close to the iPad was Motorola Xoom and that was only competing with the first-gen iPad. iPad 2 is miles ahead of the competition with no real challenger in sight. When we finally see a iPad 2 challenger, you know what time it would be – time for iPad 3. The biggest reason for all this is Andriod tablet manufacturers are running the wrong race. They are running the hardware race. And tablets isn’t only about hardware. It’s about software too. Apple has little over 1000 apps for tablets and there’s no official count of Android tablet specific apps. Gartner puts this conundrum succinctly :
“Seeing the response from both consumers and enterprises to the iPad, many vendors are trying to compete by first delivering on hardware and then trying to leverage the platform ecosystem,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “Many, however, 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. 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.”
The real software OS for Android tablets was only released few months back. iPad was running a tablet specific OS since day one. Other software/hardware makers like Blackberry are facing the same problem. No body could gather the same kind of developer support like Apple did.
Google’s move to not open up Honeycomb and its efforts to get the manufacturers sign the anti-fragmentation clause should help the cause. Developers need enough incentives to develop apps for Android tablets. Manufacturers should make developers job easier by not putting an extra layer on Android. They should just let Android be Android and find other ways to differentiate.
Technically, the race has just begun. And Android is gaining traction. With Google putting the screws back on where they should be, Android tablets will be a worthy opponents for iPads.
Source : Gartner