The absolute domination of the iPad is now coming to an end. When the iPad was first launched, it was the only tablet on the market, and it immediately captured the entire market. Soon after that, Android smartphone manufacturers started churning out oversized smartphones, and started selling them as tablets with Froyo or Gingerbread installed. The Samsung Galaxy Tab was the most popular of them, and it managed to capture only a marginal share.
With the HP TouchPad now dead, and the Blackberry Playbook being a miserable failure, the iPad is still ruling the charts. However, it has been losing market share to Android.
Even though most Android Honeycomb tablets suck, there has been a deluge of cheap Android Gingerbread tablets in the market. They may not make a lot of money, but they are helping Google gain market share for Android, which is what they have wanted all along.
Android tablets accounted for 27% of global tablet sales in Q3 2011, up from 2.3% a year earlier, according to a report by Strategy Analytics. 4.5 million Android tablets were sold in Q3 2011, out of a total of 16.7 million tablets. Samsung led the charge, selling more than 1.5 million tablets.
With Amazon entering the market with the Android based Kindle Fire, the iPad’s market share is set to decline even more this quarter. Even Google launched the next version of Android – Ice Cream Sandwich – recently which is supposedly better than Honeycomb, and unifies Android on smartphones and tablets.
Apple is already feeling the heat, and has mounted a legal offensive against Samsung to ban sales of its Galaxy Tab tablet in multiple countries.
Microsoft, which will launch Windows 8 next year, runs the risk of being too late to the party.
However, Apple continues to grab a majority of the profits in the tablet industry, just like it does in the smartphone industry.