How long can Apple hold onto its dominance of the tablet market with the iPad? There no question that the iPad is leaps and bounds ahead of all other tablets, including the latest Android tablets running Honeycomb, in terms of market share, apps, design and overall experience. With the recently released iPad 2, it is maintaining its lead. But how long can that last? After all, Android caught up in smartphone market share pretty fast.
Today, Gartner released some estimates that take a stab at guessing what will happen to tablet market share through 2015. Last year, Apple’s iOS held an estimated 84 percent share, compared to 14 percent for Android. The iPad’s share of the tablet market is expected to drop to 69 percent this year, 64 percent next year, and keep falling to 47 percent by 2015. It will still have the largest share, but during the same period Android is expected to grow to 39 percent share.
The Blackberry Playbook, with its QNX OS, is expected to take 10 percent share by 2015 (another total guess since it is not even on the market yet), and the other operating systems will remain negligible.
The truth is that nobody knows how the nascent tablet market will play out. And Gartner, specifically, completely underestimated Android’s rise in the smartphone market when it tried to predict numbers just two years ago. Gartner obviously doesn’t want to repeat that mistake with its tablet estmates, and perhaps is giving Android an edge this time around.
Tablets are such a new category of computing that anything can happen. If you believe Gartner’s numbers, the iPad will lose 37 points of market share between by 2015, while Android will gain 24 points. That scenario is certainly plausible, but it will almost certainly turn out to be wrong. How do you think the market will shake out?