Android tablets to move further ahead of iPads in 2013, says IDC

There’s change afoot in the tablet market, according to the International Data Corporation. Android-powered tablets, currently shipping in greater numbers than its iOS counterparts, will surge further ahead by 2017.

Similarly, the overall number of tablets shipped will increase: IDC has moved up its prediction for the global market from 172.4m units to 190.9m by the year’s end.

Android is predicted to have 48.8% market share by the end of 2013, with iOS behind at 46%. However by 2017, these figures will change to 46.0% and 43.5% respectively.

The predominant reason for this change in figure will be due to the rise of Windows tablets, according to IDC; the Microsoft market share is predicted to be 7.4% in 2017, compared to just 2.8% by the end of this year.

Yet Windows RT is forecast to take 2.7% share by 2017; not a wise move, in the eyes of the analysts.

“Consumers aren’t buying Windows RT’s value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC tablets research director.

“Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road,” he added.

The IDC research shows that low cost, therefore smaller devices will spur the increase in purchase. “One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size,” said IDC research analyst Jitesh Ubrani, adding: “In terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond.”

One company that won’t be moving into that low-cost market any time soon will be BlackBerry, with its CEO Thorsten Heins widely quoted as being against the move. Intomobile reports Heins saying: “You will not see us getting into the 50-, 60-buck phone segment. This is not BlackBerry.”

But while this is good news for purveyors of tablets, the outlook’s not so rosy for those who manufacture eReaders, as IDC reduces its forecast by 14% on average between 2013 and 2016. Not surprisingly, the analysis centre puts the proliferation of low-cost tablets and their versatility firmly as the reason behind the downturn.

Where do you see tablets heading in 2013; do you agree with the IDC analysis?

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14 Mar 2013, 12:57 p.m.

I've spent time with a wide range of Android tablets as well as iPads and iPad mini. I have to say, that although I'm a thorough Android convert when it comes to mobile phones, I'm yet to see an Android tablet that is anywhere near as 'covetable' as an iPad Mini - despite it's inferior specifications, extortionate price and comparably limited ecosystem. It's just such a lovely thing to use (and I can't deal with the terrible washed-out colours of the screen on the Nexus 7 which otherwise might just tip it back to Android).