Egham, U.K. – Worldwide tablet PC sales will tally 63.3
million units in 2011, with Apple owning 73.4 percent of the market, according
to a Gartner report.
The 63.3 million units represent a 261 percent increase over
2010 sales, and the growth rate will continue to climb at least through 2015
when 326.3 million units are sold.
Apple is expected to retain its leadership position in the
tablet market (Gartner prefers to call tablet PCs media tablets); however,
devices supporting the Android OS will grow significantly, but still lag behind
Apple. Gartner does not expect products supporting any other OS to garner more
than 5 percent of the market during this period.
One reason Gartner gave for Apple’s expected continued
success is how that company is able to fully integrate the iPad into its
overall product line. This not only delivers a unified performance, but has
enabled the company to better manage its supply chain, which has helped keep
iPad prices down.
Google’s Android does have a chance to counter Apple’s
“So far, Android’s appeal in the tablet market has been
constrained by high prices, weak user interface and limited tablet
applications” Carolina Milanesi, research VP at Gartner, said. “Google will
address the fragmentation of Android across smartphone and tablet form factors
within the next Android release, known as â€˜Ice Cream Sandwich,’ which we expect
to see in the fourth quarter of 2011. Android can count on strong support from
key OEMs, has a sizeable developer community, and its smartphone application ecosystem
is second only to Apple’s.”
Gartner did point out that Research In Motion’s WebOS QNX
operating system does show some promise, but it is too early to tell what impact
it will have on the market — particularly considering the company’s smartphone
business is under a great deal of pressure at the present time.
The research firm was also unsure the impact Windows 8 would
have on the tablet market. Microsoft’s late arrival in the tablet space means
it will have to fight against an even further entrenched Apple and Android.
There is a chance Microsoft will find a niche in the enterprise space where
corporations will want a Windows-powered tablet that will integrate into their
current systems, Gartner said.