If there was any doubt that the tablet is here to stay, one can simply look at the latest report released by IDC. The research firm predict that global tablet shipments will reach 106.1 million units in 2012, up from the previously forecasted figure of 87.7 million units. A good chunk of these units will come from Apple, which is currently basking in the glow of the soon-to-be-released new iPad.
Meanwhile, the report all but confirms the market popularity of competitively-priced Android tablets, specifically of the Amazon Kindle Fire, which helped the Android platform capture a bigger slice of the tablet pie over the final quarter of 2011. IDC’s report confirms previous analyses that estimated a change of tides in terms of market share of iOS and Android.
Overall, the Android platform improved its market share from 32.3% to 44.6% in Q4 2011. Apple finished the year weakened, as it grabbed 57.4% market share, down from close to 80% in 2012. Other “notable” platforms include the Blackberry, which slid from 1.1% to 0.7%, and the defunct WebOS. The latter saw a spectacular, if sad, demise, considering it grabbed a 5% market share in the previous quarter, thanks to the firesales prompted by HP’s abrupt decision to ditch WebOS.
It’s rather interesting, to say the least, how IDC predicts that Android tablets would only gain small traction in 2012, and how it’d take four more years for Android to dominate the market. While the new iPad hysteria will no doubt last for months, there are many solid Android tablets expected to enter the market this year. Coupled with Google’s push into the content side with the revamped Google Play, we do think that 2012 is the year when Android will become the leading platform in the tablet market.
What do you think? Can the iPad hold 50%+ of the tablet market for another four years?