Back in March, I wrote a post where I predicted that Android tablets would gain more than 50 percent of the market by the end of the year. That post was published a few days after the announcement of the iPad 3 (or the old new iPad, as some call it), and tech sites were teaming with articles that proclaimed the renewed supremacy of Apple’s tablet. And suffice it to say, some of the comments to my post were… negative.

So, what came of my prediction? Well, I was wrong, but, to my credit, only by a slight margin. According to the latest report from IDC, non-iPad tablets accrued shipments of 13.8 million units in the third quarter of 2012, which equates to a market share of 49.6%.

idc market share table

The “Others” category includes the BlackBerry PlayBook and very small numbers of Windows 7 tablet PCs. Nevertheless, Android tabs (including the lost son, Kindle Fire) accounted for the vast majority of the non-iPad sales.

With the launch of the iPad mini and the associated marketing blitz, Apple will likely improve its tablet sales in the last quarter of the year, so my prediction will probably not come true this year. Still, I file it in my good predictions folder, because, well, I was pretty darn close.

But when will Android finally tip the scales?

Singh: Android at more than 50% by the middle of next year

Sameer Singh, a mobile industry analyst that writes on the Tech Thoughts blogs, ran the numbers and came back with a prediction. Based on tablet shipments figures from the previous quarters, Singh plotted a growth scenario for next year, one that puts the Android platform ahead of iOS by the middle of 2013.

The analyst notes that Android has outpaced the growth of the iPad in six out of the eight previous quarters, and if this trend continues, Apple will not be able to claim absolute domination of the tablet market for much longer.

IDC - Tablet Shipments

Buoyed by the iPad mini, Apple might get hold of 55% of the market in the important holiday season, estimates Singh, but the Android pursuers are expected to rebound in the next quarter.

Where does this prediction leave Windows 8 tablets? Singh is not too optimist about the performance of Windows 8/RT tablets, and seeing that industry sources predict below-expectations sales for the Surface RT, and with Microsoft’s CEO calling sales “modest”, we tend to agree.

The iPhone scenario

At this point, it’s safe to say that we are not heading to another iPod scenario – the iPad will not remain the sole meaningful product in its product category, like the iPod was for media players. As tablets become mainstream, Android will continue to gain market share and will eventually outnumber iOS devices, just like it happened with smartphones.

Moreover, the popularity of the Nexus 7, the unexpected success of Samsung’s line of tablets, and the affordable Nexus 10 (which just launched today) are bound to accelerate the trend.

Bogdan Petrovan
Bogdan is the European Managing Editor of Android Authority. He loves tech, travel, and fantasy. He wishes he had more time for two of those things. Bogdan's phone is a Nexus 6P.
  • žan bakan

    I don’t thing soo. Next year apple will ship ipad 5 and ipad mini 2.

    • Marvin Nakajima

      I think he’s already taking that into account. However if Apple does come up with something surprising for the iPad mini outside of introducing a retina version I suspect the predictions will still come true but delayed a quarter or two.

      • Justin W

        Honestly, with the N7 & N10 having been released, I think Android can push the tablet market 4Q of this year. I know the iPad Mini will sell like hotcakes, but Android has a great following and the major Nexus tablets have a great price attached to great specs, so I think it’s highly possible for us to flip that prediction back to this year.

  • RarestName

    If there are more Android-designed apps, this will become true. After all, iOS was and still is all about the App Store.

    • Windroipple

      I don’t think , these numbers do justice.

      Apple has a well defined eco system with iPad , and it works with lot of accessories and also with Apple TV very well.

      There are always millions of people who get iPad.
      Apple is like a big puzzle , it has various pieces , each piece represents a product.The more apple products a person adopts , more he gets clearer picture of puzzle.

      In business point of view , Samsung and Apple are wiping everyone out with profits they are making.

      I am trying to say that , there are always people to buy products from either eco system but both are equally strong and also equally weak.

  • I predict Windows tablet and laptop-tablet-hybrids will start outselling Android tablets by the end of 2013.