Latest numbers suggest Android could overtake Apple for tablet lead sooner than expected

A Gartner study from April of 2011 predicted that Android would hold a 38 percent share of the tablet market by 2015. A new report from ABI research suggests Google’s OS could surpass that figure much sooner. According to the latest data, Android devices accounted for 44 percent of all tablets shipped last quarter, just 11 percent shy of Apple’s lead.

The numbers may speak only for a particular period in time, but they show a continuing trend. While Apple maintains its lead thanks to the popularity of its iPad lineup, the margin between those tablets and the one’s made by Android manufacturing partners such as ASUS and Samsung is closing quickly.

The surge in Android tablet popularity can no doubt be attributed to the successful launch of low-cost devices such as the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire. Both look to be hot ticket items this holiday season, further bolstering Android’s overall share.

The general consensus from a year or so ago was that it would take some time for Android to completely catch and eclipse Apple. At the time, it seemed a fair assessment. Most Android options were clunky and expensive and didn’t benefit from a built-in customer base like that of Apple. Thanks to OS improvements, rapidly progressing hardware, and a focus on pricing, Android tablets have become viable competitors.

Now estimates are shifting from 2015-2016 or later to as soon as mid-2013 for Android to overtake Apple in the tablet market. Such an achievement would be quite the accomplishment for Google and its partners.

[via TechCrunch]

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  • ArmageddonX

    Now C’mon Google and push those Tablet Apps out fast, fast, fast!

    • Treknologist

      Agreed, though I think this increase in share may get more developers to optimize apps. At least, I hope it does!

      • ArmageddonX

        Now that we actually have two fantastic Nexus tablets, I think the Tablet App catalog is going to explode. Just in the last two days I’ve seen three new Tablet Apps or optimization be released.

  • Shane Rambo

    i have bought 4 android tablets since may of 2011 and one ipad 3rd g

    • veccster

      “Hi, my name is Shane and I have an addiction….”

      • kev2684

        lmao

    • anywherehome

      Why iPad? Do you need any board for icons? :-)

  • veccster

    Does the study count Notes – which are pretty much small tablets?

    • Keith

      A phone is a small tablet too… but I would say a note is more of a phone rather than tablet.

    • Layman76

      That’s what the Note 2 feels like.

  • Layman76

    And do you know what this means? MORE lawsuits.

  • http://twitter.com/dycseu Tilmann Freienstein

    Not too realistic though. There are only 2 competitive androids in the tablet market, the nexus 7 because it is ok and sooo cheap and the Galaxy not 10.1 because it is just awesome. Most of the rest is just crap (asus, acer, sony, toshiba (urgh), samsung except the notes, etc.. Thats not enough to kill the apple hype and their realy solid programming.

    • surethom

      I like the Galaxy tablet range but much prefer Asus transformer range, the keyboard is the best thing so your tablet can be tilted to any angle.

      • UniBroW

        My Asus keyboard took a dirt nap today, no longer locks my Infinity in place. Turns out the keyboard dock is as crummy as the Infinity, in terms of actual build quality

    • a22matic

      What about the Nexus 10? That’s not a crap tablet…

    • Eye4Detail

      My Infinity is crap? Really? How so? I mean, I admit that the aluminum case, while nice to look at, is as cold and slippery (read: pointless on a handheld device) as that of an iPad but otherwise, it has been a wonderful tablet. A Skinomi clear tablet skin solved the problem with the aluminum panel, so now I really don’t have any issues with it at all. I suppose if you’re interested in using a stylus, the Note 10.1 would be the better option but that hardly makes the Infinity “crap.” It just means it isn’t the right tablet for you.

    • Butters619

      I don’t think that is true. I flew home for Thanksgiving last week and I saw so many non-Apple tablets. I was in shock. Usually in airports all you see is iPads. Most of the non-iPads I saw were Transformers or Fires, so clearly there are more than 2 options.

    • veccster

      I disagree. The study is counting the number of tablets on the market. Not everyone wants THE BEST and would be happy with an off-brand tablet. They also don’t cost $500+ like the ipad. You probably do want the best tech – which is why you hang around on a tech blog website. But the large majority of the population wants something that satisfies their basic needs (news, emails and facebook). The “crap” you listed all do that quite well.

  • Havoc70

    Haha now CrApple will have to hit more companies with lawsuits to try and keep their crap relevant. How about innovate CrApple, Jobs did.

  • matt t

    Apple will be jealous so more lawsuits will come… sad….

  • http://www.dsaif.com/ Saif

    Google should make some apps other than services especially for Tablets

  • BLADESMAN1889

    The apple/Samsung case has also opened up peoples eyes to the fact that there is a affordable alternative to the expensive ipad.

  • maximillion82

    It makes just sense. This is the PC market from the early 90s all over again.

  • lynyrd65

    I basically never see android tablets where I live.

  • Stefan K

    “Android devices accounted for 44 percent of all tablets shipped last quarter, just 11 percent shy of Apple’s lead.” More like 7%, if Android holds 51% of the market Apple has to have less :)

  • satsmine2k4

    Am not surprised with tablets like Nexus 10… Android sure is on the right path… Dev’s please update your apps to work on N 10 soon please…

  • ilh

    Got 2 myself, a TF300 and a N7 (which I got last week). I’m not sure if just got a dud or what but the transformer is so sluggish, especially when downloading from the market, it just becomes impossible to do anything else with it. The N7 is a beast though, even though it’s got the runt of the Tegra 3 family inside it’s just superior to the transformer in every way. When a cheap tablet with supposedly slower parts inside can trump what is generally considered the best family of android tablets (albeit not the top model of that family in this case) then it’s no wonder the N7 is a big winner and seeing market share rocket.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gideon-Waxfarb/100002251671344 Gideon Waxfarb

      Yeah, when it comes to Android tablets, it’s either a Nexus… or iPad :)

    • Eye4Detail

      AFAIK, the TF300 is the closest to the N7 component-wise. At least, that was the justification I was given (quite a few times) in various forums as to why the TF300 got the 4.1 update before the TF201 and the TF700.

      The difference you’re seeing in performance may have more to do with how you have them configured than with the hardware.

    • enomele

      What’s funny is they use the EXACT SAME chipset. But I am in the same boat, and I own the Transformer Pad 300 and N7. The TF300 was a decent 10 inch tablet but somehow is much slower than my N7.

  • renGek

    There should be an international holiday on the day android tablets surpasses apple. And we know it will happen. Like chasing down a lame prey.

  • Joe

    tablets SHIPPED do NOT equal tablets SOLD. just sayin.

  • Observant Freeman

    And then Black Friday sales show that this article is nothing but a farfetched wish at best…

  • Montisaquadeis

    Another reason having a locked down OS and Hardware is a bad thing. Give the people choice and that will snatch it up. Samething has happened in the past to Apple. Microsoft doesnt force you to use certain hardware like Apple does and that means people with lower spending limits can come in and pick things up and it would seem that is happening again with the mobile market but this time with the low entry cost of android over ios based iphones.

  • Butters619

    I would only count the Kindle Fire as an Android tablet when comparing the numbers with Apple. Otherwise, hell no.