Android Tablets Will Overtake iPad by 2015, IDC Says

Paul Lilly

It's going to be a madhouse at Best Buy retail locations this Friday, March 16, starting at 8 AM when Apple's new iPad goes on sale. Actually, it will be nuts even before then, because it's always a safe bet dozens and, in some locations, even hundreds of people will line up outside way ahead of time. That's the way it goes with Apple product launches these days, but even with the rabid fan base in place, Android tablet shipments will overtake iOS by 2015, International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts.

"As the sole vendor shipping iOS products, Apple will remain dominant in terms of worldwide vendor unit shipments," said Tom Mainelli, a research director at IDC. "However, the sheer number of vendors shipping low-priced, Android-based tablets means that Google's OS will overtake Apple's in terms of worldwide market share by 2015. We expect iOS to remain the revenue market share leader through the end of our 2016 forecast period and beyond."

This is exactly what happened in the smartphone arena and history is posed to repeat itself with regards to tablets, especially now that there are compelling low-cost Android devices to choose from, like Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet.

The trend has already begun. IDC notes Android made some strong gains in the fourth quarter of 2011, in which its market share grew to 44.6 percent, up from 32.3 percent in Q3. This came at the expense of Apple's iOS/iPad platform, which dropped from 61.6 percent in Q3 2011 to 54.7 percent in Q4.

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