iPad Set for 'Free Run' Through Holiday Tablet Shopping Season
Gartner's projections of worldwide tablet sales to end users (thousands of units)
Research firm Gartner today released updated sales estimates for the tablet market, noting that a lack of momentum from competing products will give Apple's iPad "free run" through the lucrative holiday shopping period. Looking out over the longer term, Gartner sees Apple maintaining a majority share of the tablet market through 2014 even as Microsoft's Windows 8 and Research in Motion's QNX platforms are expected to gain some traction.
“We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal. Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen. This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”
Gartner has pared back its estimates for Android tablet sales in 2011 by 28% over last quarter's projections, identifying extremely weak adoption due to high prices, user interface issues, and limited app offerings. Only some success in low-cost Asian markets and strong expectations for Amazon's forthcoming tablet kept Gartner from slashing projected Android device sales even further.
Android is expected to see stronger growth heading into next year as Google pushes out its next-generation "Ice Cream Sandwich" release of Android and works to address fragmentation throughout the Android ecosystem. Gartner's sales projections do not, however, see Android tablets catching up to the iPad by the end of the forecast period of 2015.