According to Strategy Analytics, a market research company, Android managed to capture a whooping 39% market share in Q4 last year, or to be more exact – 10.5 million Android tablets were sold in Q4. Apple maintained its lead at 58% market share, but for how long?
So what helped Android tablets surge so much? The biggest factor in this rise is definitely the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet which was a phenomenal success that surprised even Amazon. The reason Kindle Fire was so successful is because it was a decent tablet that sold for less than half the price of an iPad – $200. While there is a portion of the population who can afford and want an Apple product like the iPad, there will always be more people don’t see the point in spending laptop-level prices for a tablet, especially when they can pay much less for one.
These people are also the same people who don’t care about the latest app that appears in the iOS ecosystem, and want to use it mainly for browsing the web, checking e-mail and watching videos and movies on it. Amazon provides that with all their content, and so does Google increasingly more as they get more involved in the content industry. Google now has music, movies, books, and soon they’ll even have premium Youtube channels to keep people entertained (although I hope they will treat the books business more seriously, because they really aren’t right now).
I wish Google and the other Android manufacturers would have realized the potential of the under-$250 tablets, but it probably wasn’t until the firesale of the HP Touchpad when they all started to figure it out. Most people just don’t need all the most cutting edge specs thrown together in a tablet, and they’d be willing to pay much less for 80% of the functionality.
There are manufacturers who are even starting to release $100 Android 4.0 tablets right now. I believe Ice Cream Sandwich will be a big factor in helping Android capture even more market share in 2012, together with these lower-end tablets. Of course, we’ll still be able to see more expensive tablets at $400-$500 tablets that will better compete with the iPad in features for people who want the most cutting edge tech in their tablets, such as quad core chips, Full HD displays, and so on. This year should be the year when Android finally surpasses the iPad in market share.