ANALYSTS at Gartner have forecast that Apple's IOS will dominate the tablet market for the next four years but faces an increasing challenge from Google's Android.
Gartner predicted that by the end of 2011, sales of tablets with Apple's IOS will reach 47.9 million, or 68.7 per cent of the market. This will be a drop of 15.2 per cent, but it's an unsurprising statistic when you consider that the Ipad 2 sold out within days of its launch in the UK.
Gartner analysts said, "The Apple iPad did to the tablet PC market what the iPhone did to the smartphone market: re-invented it."
From now until 2015, Gartner expects sales of IOS tablets to increase to 138.5 million but its market share to decrease. The report predicts Ipad market share will drop from 68.7 per cent at the end of this year to 47.1 per cent in 2015.
It appears that the main reason for this drop will be its main rival, Google's operating system, Android. The forecast market growth for tablets using Android 3.0 Honeycomb, an operating system specifically built for tablets, will almost double from 2011 to 2015, starting at 19.9 per cent at the end of this year and rising to 38.6 per cent.
With the predicted gap between Apple and Google down to just 8.5 per cent in 2015, it's a shame the forecast doesn't go further into the future to predict whether Android will continue its rise and overtake IOS.
Android total sales will make an even bigger jump from 13.9 million to 113.4 million. A number of tablets from different manufacturers, such as Asus, Motorola and HTC, will use the operating system and most are due to be released in the coming weeks and months.
Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner said, "Volume will be driven by support from many players, the ecosystem of applications for tablets getting more competitive and some platform flexibility allowing lower price points,"
The effect that these alternative tablets, sometimes called Ipad killers, will have on Apple's dominance in the tablet market won't be quick or dramatic, according to Gartner's findings. The forecast changes between 2011 and 2012 in sales and market share are minor. Apparently IOS will drop only 5.2 per cent market share and Android will gain only 4.5 per cent through the end of 2012.
Gartner predicted that other operating systems such as Meego and WebOS will decline between now and 2015 with only QNX set to gain market share.
The operating system is of course a consideration for consumers looking to buy a tablet. Gartner said that users will want to buy a tablet that has the same operating system as their smartphone, due its familiarity and so they can use the same applications. µ
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