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New predictions from IDC claim Android tablets to overtake iPads in 2013


While Apple didn’t invent the tablet industry, it certainly got the ball rolling with the iPad. And by rolling I mean complete and utter domination. However, research firm IDC seems to believe that such dominance will not be long-lasting, and that Android will indeed overtake iOS in operating system market share.


Originally, IDC predicted we would see around 172.4 million Android-based tablets ship this year, but they have since upped that prediction to 190.9 million. This means that they see Android capturing 48.8 percent of the tablet operating system market, which would in effect overtake iOS by a thin margin. In 2012, Apple had a 51 percent cut of the tablet OS market, but IDC thinks that will shrink to 46 percent this year in the face of cheaper options brought on by Android and its OEMs.

There has been a steady increase in popularity of 8 inches and smaller tablets, almost all at a cheaper price than the non-mini iPad, and many even cheaper than the iPad Mini. IDC stated that one in every two tablets shipped this quarter was 8 inches or below in screen size, which they believe signals a trend that should continue as the year moves forward. If that’s the case, then Apple should absolutely see it’s hold on tablet OS market share slip. Throw in the just-released Windows Surface tablet lines—which IDC claims should result in Windows market share jumping from 1 percent to 7.4 percent by 2017—and it would appear that Apple has finally met some worthy opponents in the tablet market.

One of the more interesting things about IDC’s prediction is that it makes no differentiation between pure Android tablets and Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. Being that it uses a forked version of the Android operating system and is usually listed in a different category from other Android OEMs, it’s strange to see the Fire included here. Since Amazon does not release numbers of tablets sold, it’s nearly impossible to ascertain what the real numbers would be here if we separated the two tablet-types, but one would have to assume it would take a healthy chunk from Android’s claim, considering how popular the Fire line is.

It’s also important to note that these predictions are for tablets shipped, not necessarily sold. If we were to take a look at how many tablets would actually be in the hands of users and in their homes, the numbers would likely be different. As it stands, though, Apple is the only manufacturer that consistently reports those totals, which is usually a sign concerning the state of the other OEMs. Another great way to gauge the landscape is to just take a look around you while out and about. Considering all the people you see holding a tablet in their hands, how many would you say AREN’T an iPad or iPad Mini? In my opinion, that’s a more telling gauge than most others.

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