Android will Defeat the iPad. And It Will Happen this Year

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 10, 2012

These days, it’s virtually impossible to go through any generalist tech site without stumbling on an “Apple did it again/the new iPad is revolutionary/Android is doomed” op-ed. One of the most ludicrous “analyses” I read predicts an iPod scenario – Apple will master the tablet market for years, just like it does (or it did?) with the iPod, which dominated the now-fading MP3 player market.

Let me say this loud and clear – no way!

With the risk of sounding like a fanboy (whom am I kidding anyway?), I think that Apple is on the verge of losing control over the tablet market. For more than two years, the tablet market has been the iPad market, but now, I really think that things will change. On what argument do I base my affirmations? It’s the rise of the low-cost tablet.

The iPad is Off-Sync with What Most People Want

By now, it’s clear to anyone that people want tablets, but they want affordable tablets even more. Why did Android take off on smartphones? Because there were so many people looking for affordable devices.

There’s no question – the iPad took over the high-end of the tablet market, and is likely to hold it for years to come. But there’s a huge customer base that the iPad won’t ever reach (at least not in its current form): people who crave a tablet, but aren’t willing to spend $400+ on a slate, no matter how “resolutionary” it is.

Even with a price cut, the iPad 2 is still more than double the price of the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet 8GB, while the most expensive iPad 3 goes up to $829. On the other end of the tablet spectrum, both the Fire and the Nook have been killing it with their $199 “good enough” recipe, while the $249 quad-core ASUS MeMo 370T has generated a huge wave of excitement. Google itself may be digging hard beneath the walls of the iPad castle. The search/mobile/everything giant is rumored to be in talks with ASUS for releasing a quad-core beast based on the MeMo 370T, that will come at an unbelievable price of $199.

Between the Kindle Fire (due for a revamp later this year), the upcoming 10-inch Kindle tablet, the $249 MeMo, and the $200 Nexus tablet, I believe that the Android war band can muster enough firepower to overcome Apple this year. Up until now, the network effect has worked in the iPad’s favor. But with enough people buying cheaper Android-based slates, the iPad may lose the advantage of the dominant position. And then, the network effect will start working in the opposite direction. And then, the iPod scenario becomes the iPhone scenario.

What about the Rumored iPad Mini?

Rumors indicate that the 7.85-inch iPad Mini (or iPod XL, as some call it) will be launched in fall, possibly at Apple’s traditional September event. If the reports are accurate, the smaller iPad will face a 4 months delay over the Google Nexus tablet, which is due in May. By the time the iPad Mini arrives, Google will probably have moved millions of units of its $200 quad-core device, putting Apple in a position that it’s really not used to – catching-up.

Admittedly, Apple is a road-opener, more than any other modern tech company. They revolutionized the smartphone and created the tablet market from thin air. They are not used to playing catch-up. Releasing an iPad Mini will put Apple in the position of following the trend, instead of setting it. So I doubt that Apple can create a successful affordable tablet, even by sacrificing their precious image.

This is why I think the iPad Mini will be too little, too late. With Google putting its massive weight behind Android on tablets, and a slew of manufacturers competing fiercely in the low-cost market, I suspect that Apple’s downsized pad will be a far cry from the iPad’s success.

The Writing is on the Wall

In spite of all the Apple hype (really, six-months-old studies presented as current?), the writing is on the wall for the iPad. Android (in its various incarnations) holds almost 40% of the market, and the wave of cheap tablets coming this year will only increase that share.

No, the iPad will not suddenly fall from grace with consumers, nor lose its status as the top selling tablet (or media darling). But sometimes this year, Android will overcome the iPad in terms of units sold. After that, it’s the iPhone scenario all the way.

  • “The iPad is Off-Sync with what most people want” Lmao Quad Core? Asus? Memo? What on earth are you talking about?

  • Richard Baldwin

    Android tablet manufacturers (and phone for that matter) need to do 3 things! 1) Advertise like there’s no tomorrow, I haven’t seen a single programme on TV these days (including BBC) where there isn’t apple advertising either in the breaks or in the programme itself. 2) Pay shops like PC World, Argos, Tesco like Apple do to have big bill boards up and areas of the shop with Galaxy Tabs or Transformers to play with like Apple do. 3) Keep there things up to date and stop making 15 variations of the same phone, just make 3 per company, low end, mid range, bleeding edge. keep costs down, focus advertising and make support easier. I don’t think this year will see a single tablet surpass the ipad, but I do think android can take market share.

    • RickRussellTX

      > Keep there things up to date and stop making 15 variations of the same phone

      The problem is they have to make the different versions to saturate all the carriers and the international markets.

      Apple’s position on the iPhone is simple: we’re supporting LTE and HSPA+, and if you don’t like it, no iPhone for you.

  • alex2792

    In the future please don’t write articles while hitting the bong, you’re making yourself look silly. I’m sorry, but this was such asinine drivel that it could not have possibly been written by an individual with a double digit brain cell count.

    • Wow, some good arguments here!

      • alex2792

        Your nonsense is entirely too easy to disprove,but since you’re too blind to the obvious let me spell it out for you.

        No Android tablet released or announced can match iPad’s display or GPU horsepower, hell the iPad 2 destroys Tegra 3 in all graphics benchmarks. The iPad 2 will still be sold at $399 so Apple has mid and high range all sown up. Kindle Fire dominates the low range with $199 price and Amazon integration. There’s literally no room for any other manufacturer to make a dent in the market. I’m not even going to bring up the abundance of exclusive iOS apps and games that put Android tablet offerings to shame or the fact that iOS is light years ahead when it comes to user experience. I know it’s shocking, but the average user doesn’t care about open vs closed source, rooting or flashing custom roms, they want a tablet that “just works” out of the box.

        • Thank you, that’s better.

        • AppleFUD

          WOW!!! Here’s an apple fan going on and on about specs. . . oh, wait!!!! It isn’t about specs lol

          You ifans crack me up.

          tablets are still toys and people will only pay what they expect to pay for a toy and the ipad will always remain a toy because apple will never allow it to replace a Mac.

          Therefore, in the long run people will buy the cheaper but good enough–just as they did with the Kindle Fire–and then move to the replacement tablet/netbook hybrids like the Transformer or a Win8 tablets–anything that will do everything and that leaves the ipad out of it and left only with ifans.

          The reality is, only a tiny fraction of the population has jumped on the tablet craze. . . less than 1%, and that means there’s a whole lotta time for everyone else to steal the ipad’s thunder. . . which won’t be hard because apple has its collective head up its collective backside and can’t stop being controlling jerkoffs.

          • alex2792

            Kindle Fire has tight Amazon integration with a curated app store that doesn’t allow apps that look and work like a failed high school projects. Other OEMs just slap Android on whatever hardware they push out the door without giving user experience a second thought, and their sales reflect that philosophy.

  • Kindroid

    When I first read Bogdan’s post…I thought WTF is this dude smoking. Then I reread a couple of posts about the Kindle Fire and what it did to the iPad 2 sales during the 2011 Christmas holiday. Now the Fire is no iPad killer…but it exposed the weak underside of the iPad, price.
    Then I stumbled onto a story about the upcoming Nexus tablet….the collaboration between and Asus and Google.

    The Nexus tablet is going to set the Android pad market on fire. It the right size. It’s got the right hardware. Asus and Google are going to have Android 4.0 optimized to an Apple like level. It’s going to be feature rich in ways that will make a repriced iPad 2 competitor look and feel dated. And it will have the killer price.

    So for me, Bogdan’s prediction has moved from the realm of delusional thinking….to a real possibility. Don’t forget what was being said in October 2009, before the original Droid release.

    • Milen

      I have no doubt that Android , as a open system will out sales (Android generates no $, so out-sale is not correct), but rather out number iOS. How ever outnumberd does mean toppled from the top position. As is the case with he smart phones, iPhone is the number ONE brand smart phone, and it is poised to stay that way. Basically Apple sales as many as it can produce at a very solid margin (net profit).

  • RickRussellTX

    Steve Ballmer hasn’t been right about much, but he was right about this: Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers.

    The applications gap has closed, and the hardware is becoming commoditized. The Samsung Galaxy II that I just bought is fundamentally better hardware than the iPhone 4S, at $100 less.

    The winner will be the platform that attracts the best developers and the best apps.

    • AppleFUD

      True. . . so very very true. The iphone and ipad would have gone nowhere if it were not for developers. And that’s the one edge Win8 has–tons of quality software available. Android really needs to start getting some heavy lifting apps and become a full blown OS that can replace any OS.

      • RickRussellTX

        I’ve used Android and iOS side-by-side for months and I’d say the gap has closed. Virtually every useful app exists on both platforms.

      • fake gramita

        You could easily say the reverse though… the whole reason developers flocked to the iOS platform was because of the numbers apple had. You could make good money just on volume even for single developers without big marketing machinery behind them.
        Android eventually hit that point too, but with fragmentation and all it took longer for developers to see that same success. I would say the gap has closed as far as what developers can hope to achieve, but the app gap hasn’t closed as far as the sheer amount of what is available, and in some cases the quality…

        • Milen

          As a developer I can say, $$$ iOS is times better that Android (too many competing markets, plus too many devices + too many screens, cost me more to make good App and that good app makes a lot less), that gap keeps me working more on iOS side.

          • fake gramita

            Yup, this is what I was thinking. I am speaking as a developer as well- I just never actually tried developing for android for the reasons you mentioned, I just figured it wasn’t the most cost effective use of my time. If you make a really good popular app it may make sense to port to Android depending on the cost, but I never did that.

            I’m not trying to get down on Android though, I would love to see them get to that position where developers can see the same return on their work, but it’s definitely not there yet.

          • Michael Sanchez

            What are you talking about? Developing for Android is as homogenized as iOS. Why else would so many manufacturers all use the same OS? Uh duh? I question the truth of your statement of being a developer. This is basic knowledge that even a consumer would know.

          • fake gramita

            I’m not sure you’re getting the point of my statement. (And if you read what I said I also said I never tried doing any development for Android, I was going off my estimation of what the market was like).

            My point was that the reason I chose to go with iOS (and Milen as well as several other developers I knew at the time), is because of the sheer numbers iPhone was doing (i.e. iPhones sold. Fragmentation was still an issue at that time as well (and frankly I do still think it is an issue in general, but I don’t know the affect on developers currently).

            It was a clear fact at that time that developing for iOS had the potential to make you a lot more money with a lot less work, and Milen seems to believe that is still the case as a current developer. From a development perspective, sure your experience can be fairly homogeneous (although I would contest the idea that it is as much so as iOS since you are developing for a much larger set of device capabilities), but from the standpoint of the end user, you can’t deny the fragmentation… that’s not android’s fault, that’s the carrier’s faults…who block certain apps or keep users from having the latest version of the OS because of their own business plans.

            With iOS, apple controls the update schedule, so you pretty much know when you’ll get it, and that almost everyone is on the latest version with roughly the same hardware specs. I am just sharing my experience though, when I was doing development it was long before there were more Android phones sold than iPhones, so I have no idea what kind of numbers devs are seeing now.

            Are you a developer? If you have made a popular app and see it do better numbers on Android than iOS, that is awesome for both you and the Android platform, I have no reason to not want Android developers to do well…

          • Spiceyweasel

            Pretty simple answer, Sanchez….they aren’t Apple and cannot use the proprietary iOS on their paltry devices. Talk about a no brainer. When you get down to it, there is Apple…. and everyone else playing catchup to Apple. That’s just the way it is.

  • DiarrheaOfAnneFrank

    Not even the transformee prime can scroll homescreens without lag.. So once you fix android from the ground up aka: rewrite the whole thing. Maybe you will have a worthy OS.. Until then nobody wants that crap.

    • alex2792

      So true, Google should be ashamed of dropping such a turd on the unsuspecting public.

  • Bob

    Cue the Journey classic “Don’t Stop Believin'” music.

  • Qbancelli

    Spot on!

  • It is all about early bird advantages and maintaining monopolies. Micrsoft was on peddling Windows/ MS Office and Apple first with the PCs and now with smart phones.They were of course smart people.They were hands in gloves milking the crowds through a cartel.They didn’t compete and pushed their own spheres to the hilt.
    Enters Google. It has happened with all the monopolies. But Google’s task was gigantic. It had to fight on two fronts. It carved out a playful strategy through realization of the ground reality.The demonic challenges that we know today was having an open operative system and let manufacturers enjoy making phones. Had Google not done this charitably the world would have never come out of the clutches of the classic fecund.
    We need not worry. The things have started rolling. No matter how revolutionary their products have been, when masses want to buy cheap versions have to come. That is economics but visionaries fills the gaps clipping the profiteering edges and letting the people have their desire fulfilled with dignity.
    Public worship their heroes for the reasons well known. But their heroes should not disappoint them. I mean Google does not need to bring its own products but if does then the devices have to be hero devices otherwise the fun of the masses will be spoiled for the demons should fall with a thunderous bang.

  • wonshikee

    I would say next year, android tablets will overtake ipad. This year? Doubtful. Tides don’t change that fast.

  • rosiedisq

    I’m not a complete 100% tab junkie so maybe I am off base but why in the world should the mention of say 100,000 apps for apple mean anything. I see friends who are anxious to show me their new app that they can now add to the 100 they already have that they do not use anyway. If all you do all day is play with your apps, try “getting a life”

  • RyanStOnge

    For surley in sales they will not! According to Apple they’ve had Off the charts sales for this iPad.

  • Mumford

    Wrong. A TON of the iPad’s success lies in the App store and iTunes. People outside of the Android world have no clue what the Market (Google Play) is but everybody knows iTunes and the App store is, even if you don’t own an i device. I own a Samsung Galaxy S2 but also an iPod Touch and an iPad 2, planning to get the 3 on the release date. I have also owned 3 different Android tablets, all of which have been garbage, its just not a good OS for a tablet. Most of the apps are just blown up phone apps that look ridiculous on a tablet, not to mention the 2048×1536 resolution on the 3 will make any other tablet look silly and dull. IF Google can grow Google Play, get a ton of software support and get developers to make great, tablet specific apps, then they might have a chance to take down the iPad. However, none of that will be happening in the near future.

    • Pevinsghost

      Yes, but a LOT of people hate iTunes, and it’s not like there aren’t dozens of different ways for android devices to interact with it anyway.

    • Pevinsghost

      Yes, but a LOT of people hate iTunes, and it’s not like there aren’t dozens of different ways for android devices to interact with it anyway.

    • Pevinsghost

      Yes, but a LOT of people hate iTunes, and it’s not like there aren’t dozens of different ways for android devices to interact with it anyway.

    • Pevinsghost

      Yes, but a LOT of people hate iTunes, and it’s not like there aren’t dozens of different ways for android devices to interact with it anyway.

      • Michael Sanchez

        iTunes lol. What a quickly fading program. I was an early supporter of the iPhone. I had the idea for that kind of phone when HTC was trying to do it. Apple really stole it from them, but obviously improved upon their crappy phones immensely. However, iOS and Apple’s closed proprietary systems quickly became outdated. I had a case on my iPhone 3G and dropped it. The screen shattered. About half the people I encountered with that phone had a shattered screen. It was garbage. I bought a Motorola Atrix and have never looked back.

        Android tablets may not be top tier yet, but it’s only inevitable. Apple locks itself into perpetual systems and once they’ve defined the “Apple way,” they refuse to innovate or reinvent themselves any further. It soon becomes simply a matter of how sleek can my device look? Frankly, that’s not a top concern for me. I wanna know how can I alter my software. How can my phone interact with other devices like HDTVs? Apple will continue to appeal to the image of the fashion conscious, while Android pushes the envelope for mobile technology. Apple will inevitably lose this war.

        Free and open.

  • sameer_singh17

    Bang on! I just wrote an article describing this very same situation. Except that hybrid tablets will also eat away at the iPad’s high end market.

  • Cooladvertz

    the developing world embraces Android for seamless connectivity between differing platforms. Cost is a huge factor. In education when Tablets are needed for millions of learners it is going to come down to price. Apple has ignored the developing world to its detriment. Make no mistake, Apple technology is great … but on a continent where digital technology is fairly fresh, Apple has ignored its potential ground support.

  • Im an android fan4life , but what you propose is next to impossible, iPad is too well entrenched in quality control for android tablets to actually be beaten, If there ever is a challenger it will be from another walled garden like Amazon or Microsoft. Google just CANNOT get its S*** together when it comes to app sales, However it may be possible that android will end up with the largest market share like it holds now with phones. But a android single device that can beat the iPad? Мой друг не

    • That’s what I am saying – Android to overcome the iPad in market share – the iPhone scenario…

      • DiarrheaOfAnneFrank

        The main problem is not that the ipad is doing it cheaper.. Or that the android powered tablets on the low end are unusable, aka: kindle fire.The problem is apple has a wealth of tablet apps in the app store. Which give more features and options as compared to the blown up phone apps running on android tabs.. With the current level of fragmentation it is going to be very hard for android tabs to gain market share as windows 8 is coming very soon.

        • Michael Sanchez

          You kiddos forget the very fact that a significant portion of hardware manufacturers have a vested interest in the success of Android. And that’s why you’re wrong. It’s not Google vs. Apple. It’s Apple vs. Google, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, etc. I don’t understand why people ALWAYS overlook this in platform wars.

  • JonathanCR

    I’d say that the biggest threat to Android tablets over the next year is Windows 8. At the moment, the main selling point for Android rivals to the iPad (not the cheaper ones) is simply that they’re not iPads and they therefore appeal to those who dislike Apple. When Windows tablets become available (and, hopefully, good) Android tablets will lose that advantage. I wouldn’t be surprised if, a couple of years from now, the tablet market consists of the iPad (still the largest single one), a few major Windows 8 tablets, and a small Android remnant.

    The “iPhone situation” happened because of phone networks. Hardly anyone goes out and buys a smartphone “as is”. They get it as part of a deal from their network. And the networks have pushed various Android phones as cheaper alternatives to the iPhone. I would say that the vast majority of Android users are not people who particularly wanted an Android phone, they are people who merely wanted a good phone and accepted the one they were offered. Hence the state of the market today. This does not apply to the tablet market, where people are much more likely to buy specifically the tablet that they particularly want. As yet, relatively few people specifically want any tablet other than the iPad.

    I think that this is a shame, as I rather like Honeycomb and wish it had more apps (my wife has an Asus Transformer and I have an iPad 2 – but she plans to get the new iPad as she simply wants the better choice of apps). But that’s how it seems to me to be panning out. The big development this year is going to be Windows 8 tablets – to dream of a host of iPad-dethroning Android tablets emerging from nowhere is, I think, wishful thinking.

    Also, I must point out that the Kindle Fire’s ability to challenge the iPad is limited by the fact that it’s only available in the US. No doubt it’ll appear elsewhere in due course, and no doubt it will be popular, but that still lies in the future.

    • Michael Sanchez

      LOL. Windows tablets. Right. It’s funny because what you’re saying is EXACTLY what was said about Android when it first came on the scene to compete with iOS. No need to mention that you’re obviously wrong.

      I don’t understand why people say something will fail because it doesn’t have enough apps, when obviously that’s something that takes time to populate. Are you just delusional? Do you not understand that? It will happen.

      • Pevinsghost

        I left blackberry because of the lack of apps at the time, as did a lot of others. Which is sad because the apple & android are still catching up with some of BBs best features, like routing around delays in navigation. That won’t be a problem for MS though, because they are making their development tools for pc write programs that automatically run on their other devices.

  • Michael Sanchez

    It’s kind the point of having a single platform to begin with..

  • Michael Sanchez

    Hi, I’m a microUSB port, and I can connect almost anywhere, and there are lots of people finding new ways to exploit this.

    Hi, I’m a proprietary Apple port, and I require a special cable that can only connect me to things Apple specifically allows, needless to say no one can really change that.

    Open > Closed. Google will continue to push the envelope. Apple will continue to hinder technological progress for the sake of massive profits.