The iPad is expected to dominate the tablet market for at least the next four years as consumers continue to be attracted by Apple’s design and range of applications, according to Gartner.
The research firm predicted that Apple, which last month launched its second generation of the iPad, would control about 69 per cent of the tablet market by the end of this year, falling to about 47 per cent by 2015.
Google’s Android platform, which is used by a range of device makers, is expected to hold on to its second place slot, steadily increasing market share from about 20 per cent in 2011 to about 39 per cent in 2015.
Apple’s launch of the iPad a year ago reinvented the tablet, a category of devices that had previously failed to find favour with consumers in earlier incarnations. Since then the iPad has spawned a wave of copycat tablet devices by companies such as Samsung and HTC eager to cash in on the boom in demand for tablets.
Carolina Milanesi, research vice-president at Gartner, said manufacturers were making “the same mistake” as they did when Apple first entered the smartphone market with the iPhone by putting priority on hardware upgrades. She said that tablet makers had failed to grasp that to go head-to-head with Apple they needed to focus on developing good software applications and a better overall user experience.
She said that device makers needed to do more than just make “oversized smartphones” to compete in the tablet market.
Google’s Android platform is used by a range of tablet makers. However, Gartner said that Google’s decision not to open up its new Honeycomb operating system for tablets would stem rapid price decline and limit how much of the tablet market Google takes.
Gartner predicted that Canada’s Research in Motion, maker of the soon-to-be-released BlackBerry PlayBook, could secure third place in the tablet market by 2015 as it migrates to its new QNX platform.
But Ms Milanesi said that while RIM could hope to pick up market share from corporate customers, it was unlikely to have strong appeal for the broader consumer market. She also said it would “take time and significant effort” for RIM to attract developers and deliver a compelling ecosystem of applications and services around QNX.
Absent from the Gartner forecasts was Microsoft, which has yet to bring out a tablet is seen as unlikely to do so until it launches its Windows 8 operating system.