Tablet market wars: will Google defeat Apple this holiday season?

December 8, 2012
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We have seen plethora of tablet launches including the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 this holiday season. Tablets in general have seen a splurge in sales this year. Retailers such as the PC World and Curry’s are already highly bullish on the demand for the tablet and have seen sales up by a whopping 1,000% year on year. The two retailers also claimed to sell almost one tablet with every tick of the clock during this cyber Monday! And to top it, they are still expecting sale of one tablet per two seconds till Christmas.

It seems that Apple could be easily ousted from its top position this year. The market has now opened up to wider customer segments by a variety of options available at prices that are suitable to every segment. The major players playing a key role in this market shift are Google’s Nexus 7, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and the Barnes and Noble Nook, along with others that were launched earlier this year. Matt Leeser, head of buying for communication technology at John Lewis said, “Sales of Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini are very strong, but this is the first Christmas we have seen real rivals to Apple on different platforms, including Android and Windows 8.” He also added that, “Tablets such as the Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD have all exploded on to the market and are selling very well.”

It is particularly interesting to note what ebuyer.com has to say. It expects that the sexy 32GB Google Nexus will pull down Apple from its current top spot. This may be the case as Google’s world class Android tablet comes at a very competitive price as compared to other tablets in the market. Other retailers have a similar opinion on tablet sales this year. Argos also has a similar expectation as it believes that people want to have their own tablets individually instead of sharing one in a household, which is yet another factor which is fueling this growth in sales further. Cases in point are the Nabi and Innotab 2, which are exclusively made for children and retail at £149.99 and £84.99 respectively in the UK.

Previously, we highlighted that Tech-Thoughts is estimating that Google’s sales figures for the Nexus 7 might be anywhere between 6 and 8 million during 2012. According to sources at parts manufacturers, actual sales figures have shocked Google. Originally, 2.5 million units were predicted to be sufficient to get them through 2012, but Google has now placed an additional order of 2.5 million. Asus has told The Wall Street Journal that the Nexus 7 was nearing 1 million in sales per month. On the other hand, Apple announced that it had sold a total of 3 million iPads in just three days, a record for first-weekend iPad sales according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The company is said to have sold nearly 60 million iPads during its 2012 fiscal year.

It is hard to comment exactly who could be the leader of the tablet market, but we think that there is a high probability of Google winning the throne this year. We have our arguments for this. Any company that’s able to manufacture tablet hardware can support Google’s operating system and make an Android tablet. However, this is not true with Apple. Google’s tablets are light and small, but someone who has experienced the retina screen on the iPad might find the non-retina screen of other similar products grainy. On the other hand, Android tablets, which flock the market every few weeks, compete on price, size and a host of flexible features in addition to the display, which is very decent as well.

We would like to know your thoughts and comments on the market leader for the tablets. Do you think Google can outpace Apple this year? Share your views with us.

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