Apple’s iPad Loses Market Share to Android in Q4

Apples-iPad-Loses-Market-Share-to-Android-in-Q4

Market research firm Strategy Analytics reports that Android based tablets gave gained market share in the fourth quarter at the expense of Apple’s iPad. According to a statement released by Strategy Analytics, tablets running on Android accounted 22% of the tablet PC market in the quarter ending 31st December as compared to only 2.3% in the earlier quarter; an astounding ten-fold increase in market share.

Apple’s iPad has borne the brunt of this unexpected rise in Android’s fortunes with market share slipping to 75% in Q4 as compared to 95% in the last quarter. Apple’s iPad remains the market leader in the tablet PC space with more than 14.8 million units sold since its debut in April last year but it faces increased competition from Android based tablets manufactured by a slew of technology companies like Samsung, Motorola, Acer and others. Google’s Android OS is an open-source platform which is distributed free of cost making it a very attractive choice for tablet manufacturers. Google’s open source mobile OS indirectly helps it increase mobile advertising revenue and make its search engine even more popular.

Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, expects this trend to continue well into this year and sees the iPad’s share of the tablet PC market falling to 67% in the current quarter. He adds that the relative cheapness of Android based tablets and their integration with Google web services like YouTube and Google Maps will continue helping them gain market share at the iPad’s expense.

Acer plans to release an Android-based tablet in the U.S. by April 2011. This tablet is expected to retail for as low as $299 in comparison to Apple’s cheapest iPad which comes only with Wi-Fi and a 16 GB storage space and sells for $499.

In a recent interview, Mawston said that, “Apple’s volumes will continue to go up, but market share will inevitably go down, even at $500 retail, based on some of the research we’ve done, that’s probably two or three times more than what most mass market consumers are expecting to pay.” Mawston also predicted that the iPad’s current dominance of the Tablet PC market would end soon and its market share would fall below 50% in less than two years.

On the other hand, the iPad’s current sales figures remain robust with 7.3 million tablets shipped in Q4; a gain of 74% over the last quarter. In contrast, 2.1 million Android based tablets were sold in Q4 as compared to only 100000 units in the previous quarter.

A similar report released by research firm Canalys this Monday, stated that Android based smart phones dominated the market in Q4 by beating Nokia’s Oyj and the Apple iPhone which runs on Apple iOS.

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