The march of tablet computers and the slow, steady demise of the PC industries continues and the latest figures from ABI Research indicated that some 150m tablet devices will ship in 2013, resulting in sales worth in excess of US$64bn – up 28pc on last year.
About 60pc of last year’s tablet shipments used Apple’s iOS operating system software while 37pc were based on Google’s Android OS or development forks of Android, such as those found on Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices.
The remaining 3pc OS share consisted of Windows (Windows 7, 8, or RT), BlackBerry Tablet OS, and unidentified OS implementations.
“The tide is definitely turning toward Android-based tablets, though Apple will not slouch as it feels the competition approaching,” says mobile devices senior practice director Jeff Orr.
“The iPad mini was a timely introduction in 2012, though ABI Research remains cautious about the bottom line impact this is having for Apple.
“The first quarter of 2013 should be the first time where production was able to meet market demand and a better sense of how much 9.7-inch iPad volume has switched to the smaller, lower-cost mini will be understood.”
Tide turns toward Android
Orr said the next opportunity is for a vendor challenger to break away from the pack and move closer to Apple.
Although Samsung was bogged down in legal proceedings against Apple during 2012, Orr said this year Samsung is likely to see its success with Android smartphones migrate to tablets.
“A well-executed Samsung tablet strategy could double the company’s market share this year,” Orr said.
“Unfortunately, there are few ‘fast followers’ capable of emulating the ownership of technology that Samsung has, suggesting that more innovation is necessary within the Android OS that pulls tablet OEMs closer to Apple,” Orr said.