By comparison, Android tablets will account for just 17.3 percent of sales in 2011. And while that’s an improvement over the 14.3 percent they claimed in 2010, it’s 28 percent lower than the share Gartner projected last quarter.
Why? Because competing against the iPad is a thankless task — so far, anyway.
“This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal,” says Gartner VP Carolina Milanesi. “Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen. This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”
But the market should balance out a bit more over time, particularly if Google resolves some of the issues troubling Android tablets. By 2015, Gartner figures sales of Android tablets will hit about 116 million, compared to 148 million for Apple.
“So far, Android’s appeal in the tablet market has been constrained by high prices, weak user interface and limited tablet applications,” Milanesi said. “Google will address the fragmentation of Android across smartphone and tablet form factors within the next Android release, known as 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 smartphones application ecosystem is second only to Apple’s.”