Not content with dominating the smartphone market Android is also increasing its market share in the tablet arena, as huge growth through 2013 has helped the platform extend its lead over major rival Apple, according to new data from IDC.
The analyst house said the market share for Android grew from 52 percent in 2012 to a forecasted 60.8 percent in 2013, a rise of 8.8 percent. By contrast, Apple fell from 45.6 percent to 35 percent, as the influx of devices running the Google platform – normally at price points far below those of Apple – caused iOS market share to fall.
Meanwhile Microsoft saw growth, although it was hardly stellar, with its Windows market share rising from 0.9 percent in 2012 to 3.4 percent in 2013.
IDC research analyst Jitesh Ubrani said he expected a major push from Microsoft and partner Intel, but that it would do little to dent the lead enjoyed by Apple and Android manufacturers.
“For months, Microsoft and Intel have been promising more affordable Windows tablets and two-in-one devices. This holiday season, we expect a huge push for these devices as both companies flex their marketing muscles; however we still don't expect them to gain much traction,” he said.
“We're already halfway through the holiday quarter, and though there have been some relatively high-profile launches from the likes of Dell, HP, and Lenovo, we've yet to see widespread availability of these devices, making it difficult for Windows to gain share during this crucial period."
Overall, IDC said the frenzy for tablets shows no sign of abating, with predicted sales of 221.3 million for 2013, up by 53.5 percent on 2012 levels. By 2014 this will hit 270.5 million before peaking at 386.3 million 2017, IDC predicts. However, this represents a scaled-back forecast on figures of 407 million previously touted by IDC.
The firm said it had reduced the figures as the tablet market is being affected by the rise of large smartphones, dubbed phablets, which many users buy to meet both phone and tablet needs. As such, many vendors could move back towards larger smartphone screens.
IDC research director Tom Mainelli said: “In some markets consumers are already making the choice to buy a large smartphone rather than buying a small tablet, and as a result we've lowered our long-term forecast.” He also noted that market saturation was likely to delay growth.
"Meanwhile, in mature markets like the US where tablets have been shipping in large volumes since 2010 and are already well established, we're less concerned about big phones cannibalising shipments and more worried about market saturation."
The market was flooded with new devices in 2013, as V3 rounded up in our end-of-year guide to the best tablets of the past 12 months.
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