Small, Low-cost Tablets Drive Demand, Push Android Ahead of iOS

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IDC Forecasts Android Tablet Growth

Shoppers are voting with their dollars for smaller, cheaper tablets. Market research firm IDC says that the popularity of tablets with screen sizes of 7 to 8 inches will move Google's Android ahead of Apple's iOS by a small margin for the first time ever in the slate market.

IDC predicted that worldwide tablet shipments for 2013 will be 190.9 million, up 11 percent from earlier estimates. It's not just this year that sees an increase, through:.On average, IDC says, between 2014 and 2016 tablet shipment forecasts have increased by 11 percent as well. Total worldwide shipments will be upwards of 350 million units by the end of 2017.

According to IDC, one in two tablets shipped in the first quarter of 2013 was between 7 and 8 inches. That's no surprise, considering the momentum of Apple's 7.9-inch iPad Mini launched last fall. Meanwhile, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the new major releases from ASUS (Fonepad) and Samsung (Galaxy Note 8.0) fell squarely in this newly favored size range, along with HP's forthcoming but unimpressive first foray into Android tablets, the HP Slate 7.

Not surprisingly, Android tablets' market share is growing over iOS. IDC expects that Android's market share will hit 48.8 percent in 2013, up 18 percent from the original forecast. And Apple's share is expected to fall below 50 percent for the first time in 2013, hitting an inglorious second place behind Android with 46 percent market share.

Android's growth can likely be attributed to the strength of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Apple's stumble may reflect a growing sense of stagnation with iOS—and, of course, the increased competition and lower prices of its Android-based competitors.

Windows 8-based tablets aren't a threat now, capturing just 1 percent of the market in 2012. Not shocking, of course, given Windows 8's late October release. But the snail's pace growth of Windows 8 tablets should be worrying for Microsoft and its PC OEMs entering this space. IDC's forecast shows Windows tablets will grow to just 7.4 percent by 2017. And Windows RT's irrelevance seems sealed with this study: Through 2017, IDC expects Windows RT to represent less than 3 percent of the overall market.

Another victim of tablets' success: eReaders. IDC says it expects eReaders to “grow modestly” this year and next, while the category will enter a permanent decline starting in 2015. 

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  • Claude Says:

    Lee says: "Intellectual property is crap. Some protection was offered through patent and copyright to encourage development to increase productivity and distribute the knowledge to the masses for the good of the people, not because there was any right of a person to own an idea."

    Using that unbelievable logic Edison did not really have a right to profit from his thousands of experiment to develop a light bulb, Hemingway should be have been plagiarized by anyone who liked his books; do I need to go on?

    Lee says: "Can’t fault the benevolence of Google "; are you serious? When a company reads your emails and tracks your web browser to sell your private information they are doing it out of "benevolence? Your logic is a little misguided to say the least, however you do turn a good phrase.

  • Lee Says:

    Agree with Common Sense.
    I am also an IT Consultant for over 20 years, worked in everything from software development to network and SAN and worked half that time with fortune 500 companies.
    Aaron's rant is simply unfounded. First of all, monopoly is not a bad word. It is simply a single entity in a particular field that controls everything in that field. I'm sure he meant anti-competitive behavior of monopolistic companies. Second, Google is not a monopoly, it is just very broadly utilized. The fact that Nojack has other options to use shows that. As far as anti-competitive behavior, Google has actually taken actions to help preserve other search engine companies when they have had financial difficulty. Yahoo is still around today because of that. A bad monopoly is only maintained by artificial protections of law (note abuse of patent and copyright laws and lobbying that extended that authority here) or anti-competitive behavior within a supply chain (note history of Rockefeller and other industrial moguls or more recently Microsoft's demands on computer manufacturers here)
    The attack on open source software is just ridiculous. Intellectual property is crap. Some protection was offered through patent and copyright to encourage development to increase productivity and distribute the knowledge to the masses for the good of the people, not because there was any right of a person to own an idea. That has been abused and is hindering development. Intellect only has value in application. Intrinsic value is in the hard goods. Although software has great functional value, it has little intrinsic value and is only maintained by the laws surrounding it. Open source models of software creation and distribution are very effective in distributing the functional benefit to companies and individuals everywhere while minimizing the loss of competitive waste. The only issue is how to best stabilize the development market in the new model. Software bounties are one initial method but the market has moved faster than the development could manage it.
    In other words: everyone working on OSS combines their efforts instead of dividing them and the low cost of distributing allows everyone to increase their productivity in using the new developments. The biggest arguments made against the OSS models are people who were gouging the consumers and stockpiling the money and are now losing their advantage in the face of open source competition.
    Markets change and the money involved shifts to different places and luddites scream that it is not fair and try to stop the progression. It will not stop. Your train is slowing down. Time to get on the train that is speeding up and stop whining.
    As far as Samsung vs Apple - really?
    Where do you think Iphones, Ipods and Ieverythingelse are manufactured? Asia. And when is the last time that anyone you know paid for the Apple software as opposed to the Android software. Never. It is included in the proprietary hardware that Apple does not allow others to use with their monopoly over it. Don't like Samsung? Go ahead and make your own Android phone in the US. Won't cost you a penny for the software because Samsung does not have a monopoly over that, just a very good phone that everyone wants because it works well and is offered at a better price. Basically, they competed in the capitalist market and are winning.
    BTW, development happens much quicker in Asia and they have products that put the US to shame because they have less restrictive patent and copyright laws to restrain rapid development. The rights also stay with the inventor and leased, not sold, to companies that will sit on them to prevent other companies from passing them up. You want to see some amazing innovation? Look in the pocket of any teen in Japan. We can’t buy it in the US and definitely can’t invent it. Not allowed to. Law won’t allow it. Can’t buy it. Can’t sell it.
    And part of this is also because the US was stupid enough to implement laws encouraging manufacturing to move out of the country.
    Talk to your lobbyists and congressmen about why they are encouraging bad economic practices. While you are at it, mention something about simple business practices like budgets and cash flow and debt management.

    Can't fault the capitalist methods so we revert to calling it un-American. Can't fault the benevolence of Google so we call them communist. Basically, we have someone with an ax to grind and willing to use whatever inflammatory flag waving that will get people to listen to the whining.

  • Irrational Fears Says:

    Aaron, wow. I suspect that your paranoia is actually based on the threat that any any alternative OS poses to your income as a 20-year IT professional. You make your living from servicing Microsoft products. Microsoft products have from Day One tended to require more service than any other. Therefore, to you, Android, Linux, or any other open-source operating system created and distributed freely, outside the gates of corporate hegemony, is evil. Anything provided to people without cost must be a commie plot. It threatens YOUR income stream, but not the income of others who install and maintain competitive products. Microsoft has already tried the "threat to innovation" campaign matra on our elected officials. It failed.

    It failed mainly because Microsoft itself is has been the threat to innovation in the United States. It has acquired scores of companies which it perceived as a threat to itself, and in a very few cases has implemented their technologies. The rest were simply extinguished. Innovation purchased and buried. If your concern is American jobs, think of those jobs lost. Microsoft has time and again violated both law and morals in its quest to become a monopoly. Even Bill Gates has been proven to lie to a Federal Court judge.

    Your assertion that the act of giving away something innovative must somehow be an evil act is not only bizarre, but disingenuous. Google is hardly saying that all software should be free. Where oh where did that come from? Offering anything for free is communist treason? No one can then turn around and make money from that? Really? I suggest that you are upset only because Asian (and American) phone manufacturers are no longer forced to license Microsoft products, which to you somehow equates to massive American jobs. Not really. Microsoft has been lobbying and then green carding to systematically replace many of its programmers with foreign nationals who are able to be hired for much less than American citizens. This has been going on for years and years. Oddly you don't seem to lament the collapse of the manufacturing half of the American economy, claiming these employees were low-paid anyway. Ignorance must be bliss. Would you like fries with that? When manufacturing went away from here, it went somewhere else. Even American manufacturers are now offshore. They manufacture in Asia, too. They embrace the lowest cost labor pool, including yes, communist China.

    The thing to consider is that ranting about Google being an evil communist conspiracy because they offer a free operating system, well, makes you look like some kind of tin-hat nut job. I'd suggest that you instead rant about something like how patent trolls are destroying startups and their innovations (and jobs) in the U.S. Microsoft is kinda on the fence on that one at the moment, because although patent trolls are bad, they do strangle off potential competitors. So you might have to wait a bit to see which way they lean their weight.

  • Common Sense Says:

    Ah, shut the hell up, both of you. Nojack, that wasn't an informative article or commentary, it was angry rambling from some conservative american. Google hasn't cost us any money, besides, money isn't everything. In fact, even if Google was communist (oh my!), communist ideals are great but the execution is usually horrible and extremist.

    The reason Android sells is because it's awesome. Windows 8 sucks (or more appropriately, Metro and Desktop Mode suck), iOS sucks huge (how do I do anything that the average consumer would not want to do??) and BlackBerry is outdated. Android is the future, now get over your now-poor self from buying Apple products and move on.

  • qwertyvorak Says:

    Yup. South Korea's a Communist country, as is Taiwan, Japan, the US too. While we're at it, those who can't afford iDevices had best eat Ashas with a side of rancid, deprecated Blackberry cake. Better for them, because apparently giving away code is immoral, even more so if done so by a huge company. Shock you as it may, Google makes its money off advertising and its cut from app store sales. They're no doubt making plenty of money at this.

    Sure, there are the Chinese phones you mentioned. Mediatek affairs, mostly, wedged in cheaply made Galaxy SIII knockoff housings. Some people have $1,000 to buy an iPhone. Some have $650 for the shiniest Lumia. Some only have $150 to spend -- that's enough to get a dual core phone tablet. These buyers aren't going to shop for apps; the companies serving them wouldn't license an OS; Google doesn't service their country.

    --- Yes, IXquick is a good search engine. Yes, Android OS is *still* teething. Some people would rather tinker, tinker 90s Windows instability than a mysterious closed box with a walled garden sitting on top.

  • NoJack Says:

    Aaron, you are Exactly correct in your assessment. I have been telling people for years that google is evil. I never "google" anything. I use ixquick search engine and run DoNotTrackMe software app that blocks "google analytics". Why don't others see it like you tell it?

    Great informative article I really enjoyed reading. Your commentary should go viral. Why not do a YouTube vid espousing your views? Let us start a revolution against google and see where it leads to.

    Maybe we can make a difference.



  • Aaron Says:

    Google is costing U.S. and other western countries 100s of billions of dollars!

    Contrary to common belief that Google is good, Google is actually costing U.S. and other western countries 100s of billions of dollars.

    In a global economy, U.S. has been losing manufacturing jobs for decades, which is bad, but is not so terrible as most manufacturing jobs are low paid. The strength of U.S. is in the high-tech sector. Clearly U.S. has been the innovation leader for many decades. Without innovation, the U.S. economy will eventually collapse.

    Instead of strengthening the U.S. high-tech industry, Google is set to disrupt the U.S. high-tech industry. If it is done in a good way, then it will be beneficial to consumers and to the future of the high-tech industry. We have seen this kind of disruptions before. A most recent example is Apple. Apple's revolutionary iPhone disrupted the entire mobile phone industry. It hurt other companies in the industry, but the entire industry has moved up, with Apple being hugely rewarded.

    Now, Google's disruption is totally different. If Apple's innovation is capitalism, where an innovator is rewarded, then Google's innovation is communism, where an innovator offers his innovation for free. Because Google offers Android for free, including the source code, it makes Google look like a saint, or a company of higher moral standard than Apple or Microsoft. In fact, communism only looks good on paper where people work hard only for the good of other people.

    We all know what communism is in the real world - suffice to say it's worse than any worst disaster you can think of. In the high-tech industry, when a giant company like Google makes its Android operating system for free, including the source code and with little or no contract obligations attached to it, it kills any innovation in this industry (country). Today, we are seeing Microsoft is struggling with its commercial Windows Phone OS (BTW, it is much better than Android, but it is not free.), and Blackberry has a grim outlook. Even Apple is seriously threatened. Android has become the dominant OS for all smart phones.

    You might think Android's dominance is good. Yes, it is good to a couple countries, mainly Asian countries like South Korean and China, but other countries suffer, these countries include U.S., Japan and most European countries. Why is that? Because Google's communism revolution rendered technology and innovation worthless, these are the only core competitiveness of U.S. and other western countries. When technology and innovations are free, countries like South Korea and China can take a free ride. Indeed the numbers are shocking:

    (1) Samsung's annual revenue is close to $200 Billion, almost 4 times of Google's and 2.5 times of Microsoft's. Net income is $21.6 Billion, twice as many as Google's.

    (2) China's smart phone market has skyrocketed into the number one in the world, yet Apple only has about 5% of market share, which is much lower than Samsung's. The local companies have over 50% of market share. Ironically, Google gets nothing from China, because Android is open source, the local companies don't make Google the default search engine. In fact, local companies (like Baidu) own the Chinese search market!

    For many years, the US government and many other US companies have battled with the rampant piracy in China. Gradually, they have made some progress. Chinese government has implemented many laws to fight software piracy. With Google's communism revolution, now everything is lost: instead of protecting intellectual properties, an "innovative" U.S. company is declaring that all software should be free, including the source code! Suddenly, Google is telling the world that China or Chinese people are most innovative, because that's exactly their idea and what they have been doing for decades!

    Without the free and open source Android, can Chinese smart phone and tablet manufacturers grow that fast? Can Samsung become the largest smart phone manufacturer in the world? If software should be free and open source, why not make other technologies also free and open source? Google’s communism act has cost U.S. 100s of billions of lost revenue. If Android is not free, Apple, Google and Microsoft will dominate the smart phone OS. The mobile OS licenses alone could create another Microsoft!

    Google should be reined for its monopoly position in the search market. Without its search business, it will not be possible for it to do this harm. If a country dumps cheap products into another country, it will be sanctioned for dumping based on trade rules. Google should be stopped from doing the same (or worse, Note, Android is not only cheap, but also free and open source!)

    Wake up, American people! Google is an evil that has cost U.S. 100s of billions of dollars and 100s of thousands of jobs.

    About the author: Aaron is an IT consultant with over 20 years of IT experience.
    Please feel free to re-post or modify.

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