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.