Apple iPads will continue to dominate the tablet market for the next couple of years, but market watcher Informa Telecoms & Media expects Android tablets to significantly cut the gap by 2015.
Similarly, Gartner said in April that iPads will rule until 2015, when their share of the market would first fall below 50%.
Informa says Apple currently owns 75% of the tablet market with 20 million units sold last year, but by 2015 it expects Apple to edge Android tablet sales by a count of 90 million units to 87 million units and claim just 39% market share. (Then again, 3 years in the fast-changing mobile market is a lifetime, and anything could happen between now and then.)
Low cost Android tablets, possibly from new backers such as Amazon, and support for the latest Android OS should give the devices much stronger appeal, says David McQueen, principal analyst at Informa.
"Three factors have proven to be decisive in the success and failure of tablets: brand; access to distribution channels; and product quality, including the application environment offered. At the moment, the iPad leads in all three areas but Apple’s edge is likely to wane as the quality of the competing products and application environments improves," says McQueen.
Devices running Windows, BlackBerry OS (QnX), WebOS and MeeGo should also cut into Apple’s share as they mature, though carriers will focus on Apple iOS and Android devices in the near term, McQueen says.
Android supporters have been buoyed by research that shows continued momentum for the mobile platform, but most reports still show Apple devices well ahead of competitors. Good Technology this week released survey results that showed its enterprise customers activated more iPads in Q2 than they did Android tablets and phones combined.