Two things are going to happen during the next two weeks that have the potential to completely obliterate any chance of Android tablets ever taking off. One, Apple is going to announce a smaller iPad on October 23rd. According to the rumors, the base model is going to retail for 250 Euros. Add an extra 100 Euros to that and you can get cellular connectivity. Two, Microsoft is going to launch Windows 8 and their Surface tablet that runs Windows RT on October 26th. Rumor has it that Microsoft is going to spend as much as $1.8 billion promoting their new operating system.
If you’re an Android fan, both of these events spell bad news. Starting with the cheaper iPad, let’s all just confess something that we know to be true, but are afraid to say: People buy Android tablets because they’re cheaper than anything Apple makes. The Nexus 7, as much as we love it, is proving to be popular because it’s less than half the cost of a new iPad and exactly half the cost of the “old” iPad 2. We know Android is a superior operating system that enables people to be more productive, but at the end of the day it’s the price tag that drives the masses to Android.
With a 250 Euro iPad mini, which we assume will be $299 in the USA, people will not only be given a chance to enter Apple’s ecosystem for what’s arguably an “affordable” price, they’ll also have a chance to buy something that they know will give them access to a ton of high quality applications that are optimized for the tablet form factor. Again, we love the Nexus 7, but most of the apps in the Google Play Store are just scaled up phone applications.
Then there’s Windows 8. Now yes, we know that the PC market has effectively peaked and that it’s even starting to shrink, but Microsoft’s brand is still incredibly powerful. Think about this: Windows 7 came out three years ago. That means a ton of people bought new computers in 2009 to have a go at playing with the new OS. Those machines are due for an upgrade. People walking into stores are considering buying a tablet, because that’s all people seem to talk about these days. When those people step into a retail store and see the computer section filled to capacity with Windows 8 machines that are touch enabled, do you really think they’re going to go for something with Android on-board?
And speaking about retail stores, that’s a huge problem for Google. Walk into just about any shop and you’ll see Windows machines from a variety of companies, you’ll see Apple’s products, of course, but what about tablets running Android? What incentive does a store have to sell you a $200 Android tablet when they’d much rather you buy a $600+ laptop?
The Surface is a wildcard. Microsoft entering the hardware space is a dangerous move, but if it works then the payoff will be huge. Will people want to buy a Microsoft computer instead of one made by HP or Lenovo? It’s too early to tell.
So can Google do anything to lure people to their ecosystem? Yes and no. Google can pull an Amazon and sell their hardware at cost, meaning that they’re not going to make or lose any money, but then again that would piss off their partners who are already furious enough as is that Microsoft is entering the hardware game. Maybe the big PC makers are so angry at Microsoft that they’re all going to start experimenting with Chromebooks?
The air is thick with uncertainty, which makes the next few months that much more exciting.
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I’ll go on the record to say I think you’re off the mark here, and 2 years from now (and probably less) Android tablets will dominate the market, much like Android phones now dominate the market.
I have no doubt there will be plenty of iPad mini’s sold, but I think Android tablets (and tablet apps) will continue to evolve at a faster rate than iPads, and the success of Android in the phone market will be repeated in the tablet market.
As for Windows 8, $1.8B is a lot of money to spend on advertising, but they should make it $0.8B and put the other $1B into lowering the price of the products, because from all the reports I’ve read, they’re going to price themselves out of the market, and if that’s the case, it’s going to be exacerbated with the iPad mini in the market.
I can’t wait to see what the market is going to look like in 2014! Shame we’ll have to wait two years. :-(
Why do you think the tablet market will replicate the phone market?
After 2.5 years the tablet has shown itself to be far more akin to the media player market with the iPad maintaining an even larger share (60-70% worldwide) than the iPod managed in its first 3 years.
The recent Pew survey that reckoned the iPad had dropped to 52% Marketshare in the USA from July – Aug 7th has not been backed up by any other reports at this point. In fact usage share figures all point in the opposite direction with the iPad maintaining 91-98% web shares according to Chitika and OnSwipe respectively.
Strategy Analytics indicates the iPad had surged to 67% Marketshare in Q2 and ABI Research put the iPad at 69% unit sales Marketshare at the same point.
Android tablet apps are completely missing in action despite Google’s recent attempts at encouraging tablet-optimised apps meaning the iPad continues to maintain an enormous edge over Android in the tablet stakes.
There are none of the carrier exclusives or frequency incompatibilities that have held back the iPhone in the phone market (the iPhone is still not available on half the carriers that carry Android devices).
Even if there has been a noticeable increase in worldwide Android tablet marketshare thanks to the Nexus 7, the iPad Mini looks set to seriously rain on that parade with overwhelming interest in Apple’s new addition to the iPad family.
No, I think you are being overly optimistic at this stage to be so certain of any sort of Android domination of the tablet space.
That is mainly because until ICS and Jelly Bean, android tablet OS (honeycomb) was completely different from their phone OS. That hampered any hopes of tablet optimizations since most developers wanted to focus on phone first. Now with the unified OS it is much simpler to develop for both in one go as I have found out personally.
Also, the report stating that the iPad might have dropped to 52% was before the release of the Nexus 7, and until the nexus 7, transformer infinity and Galaxy tabs, android tablets were leagues behind Apple’s. Just like we saw with the phone market when the Galaxy S2 and other android upper tier phones came out, the market went full tilt android.
Apple’s main market is the US as we all know since the US consumer has a higher disposable income (hence why we also see more being spent on apps in the Apple domain). But the rest of the world needs the spectrum of prices and availability that android provides. Not to mention, even Android tablets have now got to the iPad levels and doubtless, will surpass Apple’s offerings in functionality and specs (maybe not build quality though, but that remains to be seen).
Note also, that the tablet market is still growing. Apple (while it was on top) in the smart phone market only had some 20% of the available potential of the whole market until android brought in the rest of that 80%. And now we are seeing the same thing repeat with the tablet market. Even now, Apple only likely has about 20% of the total potential tablet market. The rest of the 80% will be opened up as cheaper and better tablets come out including the iPad mini. Yet likely Android will eat up that share as well because who wants to split their resources between 2 ecosystems. The Apple people will stay with Apple, and the droids will likely stay with Android.
The OnSwipe study that reported that 98.1% of tablet traffic came from the iPad is from late Sept several months after the Nexus 7 was released and more than a month later than the Pew survey which featured the drop to 52%.
Competing 10″ tablets have made absolutely no headway against the iPad despite being cheaper – why would the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire have a better hope against the iPad Mini when it is released?
Why were the Galaxy Tab and Transformer Prime leagues behind the iPad in your estimation? Why is the Nexus 7 better in the 7″ space than these Android tablets in the 10″ space according to your theory?
Your theory that Apple can only target 20% of the population ignores what they managed with the iPod where Apple released iPod models at almost all price points and form factors over time and has maintained 70-80% Marketshare now for over a decade and even now sells between 8-15 million iPods per quarter.
With the iPad 3, iPad 2, the 3.5″ and 4″ iPod touches and now the iPad mini, can’t you see Apple is coming from exactly the same play book.
Why were all of the hundreds of manufacturers that included Sony, HP, Samsung, Akai, Dell, Creative, Toshiba, Microsoft etc who supposedly could target the 80% that Apple can’t, completely unable to reduce Apple’s overwhelming Marketshare in media players despite having devices at far cheaper prices and despite music being DRM free for the last 4 or more years. In comparison, tablets have far more lock-in thanks to apps.
60-70%? Android tablets have 48% right now.
That 48% figure comes from a single US-only survey by Pew from a period from July-August and does not agree with several reports from June from Strategy Analytics and ABI Research who reported 67% and 69% marketshares respectively for the iPad.
We’ll have to wait for Q3 figures to start coming in before we have a better idea what the worldwide figures are like and that still doesn’t explain the 98% web share reported by OnSwipe in late Sept or the Chitika figure of 92% for the iPad.
I believe David is 100% correct here on all points and I hope Microsoft does not price itself out of the market. I also think Stefan is 100% wrong in thinking that “People buy Android tablets because they’re cheaper than anything Apple makes.”
You seem way to Apple homerish to be writing for this site.
I do agree. Not that I do not like to read an alternative opinions, but many of the writers and tester on this site seems to be secret iFan … without saying so out loud.
yeah they really are.
I came here to say the same thing. ANYONE who says ‘the only reason people buy Android is that Android is cheap’ is an obvious Apple zealot. That statement has been proven incorrect time and time again, but Apple fanboys keep arrogantly thinking that it’s true. Galaxy S3 costs as much as iPhone, Apple kids. People still walk right past the equal priced iPhone to buy millions of Galaxy S3s!
I hope Android Authority comes to their senses and gets rid of Stefan. Maybe he can go write for Engadget or Gizmodo.
I love how Android fans consider someone a fanboy just for saying something positive about an Apple product.
The best one is when the iPhone 5 benchmarks beat out the SIII’s and the fandroids were saying it only won because the guy is a fanboy. Classic.
Are you not aware that this is not a like-for-like comparison? iOS is a single-tasking OS like DOS (with DMA for music streaming and clock-interrupt hooks for limited background processing). Android is a multi-tasking OS. Making a multi-tasking OS is easy – but doing it well is difficult – and Apple have just shown us with their maps how good they are at difficult things. For many years, some games enthusiasts carried on using DOS because it was more “responsive” – long after it was obvious that the world was migrating to Windows.
Speaking as someone who started out on WebOS (best multi-tasking experience I’ve ever had on a mobile device), then moved on to an HTC EVO 4G because it was the only decent Android device on Sprint at the time, and wound up now with a 4S, I think you’re off base. Sure, I know intelligently that iOS is single-tasking but it sure doesn’t feel that way while jumping around via the app switcher. And let’s just talk about Windows here. It’s freaking Windows! You think an Android tablet can compete with even the RT version of Windows let alone the full OS when it comes to multi-tasking? Good night! If someone wants a simple interface with a lot of apps, they’ll go iPad. If someone wants to get some real work done in an environment that is familiar to them, they’ll go Windows. Not a lot of room in the middle for a mobile OS that behaves a lot like iOS on the surface.
While I agree that Windows is where you go if you want to get some real work done, I have to say the environment is going to be FAR from familiar with Windows 8. A complete revamp that is going to scare anyone not young enough to take the time to learn the new ins and outs. Maybe so much so that customers make the switch to apple with a system that is more similar to Windows 7 than Windows 8 is. Time will tell.
Most market share data shows android being at least 60% or greater in almost all markets. And even though windows 8 is coming to the table soon enough, I would still be cautious of all microsoft offerings still. They have shown time and time again that in any new market, they cannot for their lives get their act together with a decent OS offering. Windows only survives because its a monopoly, not because it is an amazing OS. And since the RT version of windows can’t do half of what the x86 version can do, likely the windows 8 ecosystem will not be competing with android in functionality at the price points that android is competitive in. No matter how amazing microsoft’s windows 8 is, it will have an insane uphill struggle against two well established ecosystems. Not to mention, Android and windows 8 can have their apps ported in between fairly easily, so likely, this will be where actual OS ability will force microsoft to compete in a very long time.
There is a lot of uncertainty about these things, but one this is for certain, and that is that Google is not just going to sit on its laurels and wait. They are actively linking their online services (somewhat of a monopoly themselves) into Android and that is going to be hard to leave for most people. Microsoft and Apple are dinosaurs of tech that have yet to realize that proprietary garbage is going to get them killed eventually. They’ll do what they always do, and try to litigate to victory. The reason Android is doing well is because it is free (no royalties to jack up your base costs for manufacturers) and that it is based on open standards utilized by anyone and everyone. In the end, that will remain an Android advantage for the most part since Apple doesn’t license their OS and Microsoft charges a kidney usually.
I’ll respond to the cost aspect, Microsoft charges OEMs about the same charge for their OS as Android OEMs have to pay Microsoft in royalties so there essentially is little difference in terms of how much cost is passed on to the consumer.
In terms of getting into a market in recent years, I think XBox refutes that assertion pretty soundly. And to respond to @a27508c9a49cd033b9094b35febe262c:disqus down below, the Windows 8 revamp will make the system simpler for light users such as the elderly to use, thus giving them what has attracted so many elderly to the iPad, while still being powerful enough that younger users can take advantage. As such, I’m not predicting there actually being too much of a learning curve despite what media sources like to bemoan. I think most people will see the OS revamp as an improvement, if a little different at the beginning.
And finally, @google-85f6107c591c07e60e09f707cf23dbb7:disqus, I wasn’t aware dual window multitasking was an inherent part of Android’s tablet OS, is it? I do know of several browsers available for iOS that allow you to have two tabs open simultaneously allowing you to do something similar but limited to something you would do in a browser and not with actual applications.
It’s a pity you didn’t let your intelligent side win! Think about powerful plug-in peripherals, applications that require multi-threading, and even simple widgets. iOS can’t do these things. I even suspect that the reason why the iPhone 5 doesn’t have NFC is that it would show up the technical limitations in their OS too much. Every nook and cranny of iOS is optimised for single-tasking – but now that the time for multi-tasking has long since passed, it’s limitations are becoming more and more obvious. Also, on a tablet computer, with a large display, there’s a whole load more reasons why you’d want multi-tasking. Want to write an email while watching a video? Can’t do that on an iPhone (or the forthcoming “Apple Kindle”).
Regarding task-switching in a single-tasking OS – Software Carousel enabled DOS to do that – but it’s didn’t save DOS from Windows!!!
One more thing: do you think, for even one moment, that when it comes out in 2 years (based on the iPhone 4 – iPhone 5 interval), the iPhone 6 will have anything less than 4 processors and a true multi-tasking OS? Didn’t think you would,
iPad mini will be to big to be pocketable as the N7 is and also way more expensive when you consider that 16gb is already 349 and the cheaper 8gb model is useless especially becsuse ios apps require much more space than android apps.
Windows 8 is as common tablet to expensive. These might compete one day with macbooks once the convertable ultrabook/tablet units are good enough and in an attractive price range.
If you want pocketable, Apple’s iPod touch (the iPad Nano) available in 3.5″ and 4″ models with front and back cameras, microphone, wifi, accelerometer, capacities up to 64GB, Airplay mirroring and extended desktop to big screens etc, is far more pocketable than the Nexus 7 and sells between 6-8 million units per quarter far outselling any Android tablet already.
Interesting the comment regarding a lack of Android handsets in store. In the UK it’s a completely different scenario where big retailers like PC World, Comet etc. will have on average over 5 different Android tablets for sale and on display, including the Nexus 7. I assume this is not the case currently in the US?
Nope, this “author” just doesn’t really know what he is talking about. You can’t go into a major store without seeing an android tablet. You can actually find Android devices in more stores than Apple devices. I got my Nexus 7 from a staples, it was right next to about 7 different android tablets.
I second that. Europe’s full of Android tablets!
The nearest supermarket down the road from me is selling Android tablets. All the electrical stores around here (Ireland) sell them. I think this article is only telling the story from the US perspective and thinking that it applies globally.
That is a rather odd statement. You can walk into any best Buy and yes sure there’s the Apple rented space with apple employees in front of the computer section, but behind that is a whole section of like 8 different Android tablets.
Well at 48% it’s hard to say Android tablets never took off. I will agree though that a Surface tablet with BlueStacks running on it will be a big Android tablet competitor.
Only Pew’s US-only survey from August 7th reckons Android has managed to capture that much share. Pretty much all other sources report lower Android tablet Marketshare and FAR lower usage share (see my comment further up).
I have to say it’s weird having someone who doesnt like Android writing for an Android site. If you assume that people only buy Android because it’s cheaper then you must also be the kind of person who assumes apple products are indeed magical. I bought my Android tablet not because it was cheaper than an ipad (it was around the same price) I bought it because it does more. People havent been buying Android tablets because they haven’t been promoted properly. Look at the Nexus 7 sure it’s cheaper, but it’s also been well promoted and blame it’s selling like hotcakes.
I wonder how long we’ll have to wait to see Android and ChromeOS merge into a single OS that can run on anything…
I’m due a new PC and I have to say that I’m a little tempted by the Samsung ChromeBox as I’m not a fan of Windows 8…
Will have to see how this all works out…
PS how about a poll asking if price keeps any readers away from Apple?
Hmmm no pricing details for the Surface but it’s something happening that might threaten Android? Well thanks for that clarification! Android tablets are doing well due to Apple-beating price point but also because they are an alternative to Apple.
In case the author has missed it, there are millions of Android handset users and it’s likely that these will look to Android if they want a tablet too because they will be familiar (and paid into) Droid apps. Some people clearly just prefer Android because of how open it is, others just because it’s “not Apple”. I don’t see this changing just due to price.
Also “What incentive does a store have to sell you a $200 Android tablet when they’d much rather you buy a $600+ laptop?”
Because more and more customers want a tablet vs a laptop. Don’t sell them a decent range and shops will suffer.
Android tablets will do just fine, mostly because their form and prices will continue to change incrementally vs Apple’s annual (if that) change.
I want to believe that Android will ultimately be the winner in the tablet wars but I highly doubt it. MOST people who buy tablets are users who just want to turn the thing on and read a book, listen to music, watch a movie or play a game. The iPad does all that in a easy to use interface. The average operator doesnt care about storage options, ports or ANY of the other things that make Android tablets far superior. The only thing the iPad has that could be considered bettern than an Android tablet is that sweet beautiful screen. But Android is getting close. Windows 8 tablets will be similar to iPads in that Microsoft will rule with an iron fist. “Compatible with Windows” or “Made for Windows” is as serious as a heart attack. It is not just a marketing gimick. Windows 8 tablets will eventually have superior specs in respect to processors and the no brainer approach to user interaction (just like the iPad” will prove androids downfall in the tablet market. Sure, there will always be those of us who prefer Androids unlimited configuration. Androids fragmentation is what will ultimately kill it. I’m concerned for Android on phones as well because people are obviously getting tired of long delays between OS updates. We all know it is not Googles fault for these delays because of the customizations that the OEMs put on the OS, but people are begining to not care about that important fact. For Android to survive, Google has to do what they dont want to do. That is “Standardize”. Google has got to start dictating Phone specifications and they have got to clamp down on the carrier customizations. I know my phone can very easliy handle Jelly Bean (Droid Razr) but here we are 3 months departed from the Jelly bean release and not even a whiff in the air that the Razr will ultimately get the update. That is unacceptible to most users who know Android, and for those people that havent got a cluse what an operating system is let alone that theirs is upgradable, its just dangerous because of the incompatibilities that will increase as Apps are update for each new OS. I’m sorry to say this but IMHO, unless Google does something to reign in on all of the different Android flavors (and being open source, we know they wont), then Apple and Microsoft are going to come out on the top of this heap. This is a foregone conclusion as far as tablets are concerned, but Google may even end up killing its future on phones as well.
So basically, the author is saying that Apple and Microsoft will obliterate Android in the tablet market, just like they did in the phone market with iOS 5 and WP7 . This was posted using my highly sarcastic font.
In phones, Apple never achieved anything like the utter dominance they have maintained in tablets for the last 2.5 years. Completely different situation and far closer to Apple’s dominance of the media play market. Whether Win 8 and the Surface will just be another Plays for Sure and Zune respectively remains to be seen.
so…by your logic, Apple dominates a mobile market for over two years while Android steadily creeps up only to dominate Apple around year 4? Hmmmm….I can’t shake the feeling this has happened before, I just can’t put my finger on it…
Th iPhone never dominated the smartphone market.
The iPhone started out with only 5% marketshare in 2007, reached 10% in 2008, plateaued at 17% 2009-2010 then grew to 24% Marketshare 2011 and now 32% in 2012 according to ComScore.
So, where have we seen Aple dominate a market for years (the iPad has been on 60-70% marketshare for the past 20 months) – that anomalous US-only Pew survey notwithstanding)?
Ah, the iPod of course which has maintained 70% share of the media player market for a decade now.
Price did not lure me to my tablet (Transformer Prime). Heck, my Prime cost almost as much as the iPad and the other 20 or so tablets sitting right next to it at Best Buy. Its beautiful design, its storage capacity upgrade capability and its superb hardware did. Unfortunately, price will also ensure that I dont upgrade anytime soon. I simply cannot afford (or justify) a 500 dollar toy every year. I love my tablet but it is becoming boring because of the lack of tablet optimized apps avaialble, which is another reason why Android as a tablet OS just wont pan out the way it should. App writers clearly do not have the incentive to make their apps “Look” native on a tablets larger screen as evidenced by apps provided by well known entities (Nullsoft comes to mind) look like crap on the larger screen because it wasnt written for the screen, but ported to the size with a simple stretching.
Android getting closer I guess, but they got a lot of things need to be done before actually take off the crown of iPad and actually the writer has some merit on the article. Remember guys how much the smartphone market share on Android? 60% if I recall. Android already took the crown of the smartphone now. How come they aren’t on the tablet as well?
I have several hypothesis, but the closest is this: Apple’s iPad still the King of Tablet while Android took the smartphone crown in amazingly short time. Why? IMHO, it is due to the fact people look into function when they go into phone market. Android offers all what iPhone function minus smoothness (with JB, they are getting closer though). The difference on basic email opening or sms processing, texting etc might have impressively 3 times faster but how much it actually cost in real practice? might be 0.3 second which well.. not something I will go for 200 USD more money. Don’t forget widget, Google integration really make the Android functions even better if not the best currently. Smooth animation, eye candy stuff and screen quality is not the first factor in deciding my next phone, at least not for me and I believe as many of my other friends turning into Android from iPhone and Blackberry.
However, when we are talking about tablet, we are talking about multimedia and gaming experience, where animation smoothness, screen quality/contrast and eye candies ARE the main factor. Whilst, there are actually more homeworks need to be done. But I think Android is getting closer, seeing how successful Nexus 7, more aggressive marketing will do especially overseas and Asian market where Apple branding so powerful (ohh the irony!). Time will tell.
The 10″ iPad has already been around, the demographic that buys the 7″ one is mostly going to be iOS users already. It may lure away some people who hadn’t made up their mind. The Nexus 7, etc will still be much cheaper than the iPad Mini. Rumored pricing for the 8GB iPad Mini is around $300. Android has always been lagging behind Apple in tablet market share. If we keep seeing low cost, decent quality tablets like the Nexus 7, Android will do just fine long term.
Windows 8 RT will have a hard time because it can’t run existing Windows apps. Windows 8 x86 on Intel Atom has the advantage of a large amount of preexisting programs, although they are desktop programs which may not be touch friendly. I wouldn’t mind a Windows 8 x86 tablet that dual boots with Android, Linux, etx. Its only the ARM tablets that the manufacturer has to lock the bootloader on IIRC. I don’t see why an x86 tablet can’t be sold with a regular BIOS that allows dual booting.
I really feel like this author is trolling me.
to me it sounds like tablets and smartphones are killing the laptop/desktop market, And the new generation doesn’t care -_- cause they want thier fancy phones. Personally I will purchase an OEM of windows 8. But the funny thing is I will worry about the laptop & desktop market and it’s just one of those “I love my tower” or for some it’s a [just beacuse] phenomenon that few of us will understand. It will be unfortante to see these devices die out because of these tablet computers. And it’s already happening I see more people buy tablets than laptops and desktops these days. I’ll always stick to my old school devices : )
OR, Windows 8 might sink like a stone and take Microsoft with it. They are abandoning pc owners and chasing after ipad buyers. If they fail, where have they got to go?
The cheaper ipad, is an admission by apple that the 7 inch Samsung GTab is a threat to their business.
Frankly I don’t see the point of tablets.
Most of what can be done on a tablet can be done on a smart phone and there is so much you cannot do on tablets.
I’ve used an ipad quite a lot at work, but would never buy one.
The exception is the ASUS transformer, which looks very useful.
iPad Mini will no doubt be a success, but Windows 8 tablets will be a fail, IMO.
Windows 8 RT tablets will NOT be able to run “real” Windows applications, so what’s the point of them? The “real” Windows 8 tablets will be bigger, heavier, run hotter and have much a shorter battery life, plus they cost will be so much you might as well just buy an ultrabook with Windows 8 on it.
I think it is apple that are under threat from the iPad mini and the Windows surface tablet. The Pro version is better for enterprise and educational institutions. Windows is the most popular OS. The iPad mini undermines the iPad and will eat into its market share bringing lower returns for apple. Android will suffer but it will be a choice of iPad mini versus Nexus 7 tablet that have their own followers