The Apple iPad will dominate the tablet market for a few more years, according to Gartner analysts. A release from the research firm says that because of the iPad, Apple will dominate the tablet space till at least 2015 when compared to other tablet operating systems. The other operating systems include Android, MeeGo which is an open source OS based on Linux, HP’s Web OS and Blackberry’s QNX for the PlayBook.
The figures they give predict that iOS will have a declining percentage of the total market share going from 83.9% of all tablets last year to only 47.1% in 2015. This year it will have a 68.7% market share. Meanwhile Android will be rising from 14.2% last year to an estimated 38.6% in 2015. This year it is expected to jump just over 5% to a 19.9% market share. The only other OS that is expected to see significant growth in that time frame is QNX, the operating system behind the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook. It is predicted to rise to 10% in 2015. We wonder if this factors in the recent announcement that the PlayBook will sell for a competitive $500 price tag, something almost no other major tablet maker has been able to do yet without wireless carrier subsidies except for Samsung.
Gartner says that Android’s growth will be pushed higher by the fact that it is going to be available from many manufacturers. Already there are tablets from Samsung and Motorola to name a couple with more to come soon. Gartner said that Google’s decision to not open source Honeycomb will help keep the OS from fragmenting. It will also keep prices higher since fewer companies will be willing to pay the licensing fees.
QNX will be pushed higher by the fact that RIM already has an established “ecosystem” with apps and developers attracted by the large number of businesses that already use RIM’s smartphones. The large install base of Blackberry will draw more business customers. Because it is not already an established tablet OS it will lag behind the others.
Web OS doesn’t have the business ecosystem of QNX, nor is it an already established OS. With HP behind it, Web OS might still be able to grab fourth place, according to the analysis.
Almost any moderately interested observer could have predicted similar figures. They may not have the figures and numbers to help push the detailed percentages down to the tenth of a percent four years out like Gartner. Yet it does not take a lot of hard work to look at the media focus on iOS and sales figures of the iPad to notice that it dominates this space while Android has the potential to come on strong.
The problem with Gartner’s claim is that it assumes Android will gain the mindshare of consumers like Apple’s iPad already has. Android on the phone has been growing strong, so it is a reasonable possibility. However, no one has been able to produce an exciting Android tablet to compete with the iPad. We will see if this changes once the Galaxy Tab is out in Wi-Fi only form. The Xoom is already showing that it has not been able to grab enough attention in its early days. Our own Xavier Lanier was underwhelmed and returned his after a short time.
One might wonder where Microsoft will fit in this space? Until they actually produce a version of Windows that can run well on a touch-centric media tablet, they are not a serious contender. It would be wise to remember the early browser wars. Microsoft wasn’t a player then, but soon took over. We are not saying that will happen again, but a good analysis should at least mention the behemoth. The snub of Microsoft comes from the same firm that predicted that Windows Phone OS will jump ahead of iOS on the smart phone by 2015 thanks to its partnership with Nokia. Gartner is not just a bunch of Microsoft haters as some might imagine. It is more likely Windows was left them out since Microsoft doesn’t have a serious tablet-focused OS besides Windows 7 and information about its forthcoming successor.