When it comes to smartphones, Android has emerged as the clear and undisputed victor. Google’s OS has spent the last year rapidly climbing the charts to leap past Apple and topple RIM from its throne. But are smartphones enough? Recent data released by comScore in April shows that while Android may be winning the smartphone race, as a platform, it has nothing on Apple. When all devices are tallied up (smartphones, tablets, the iPod Touch, etc.), Apple smokes the competition.
But that doesn’t mean Apple has nothing to worry about. New data from ABI Research shows that over the last twelve months, Android tablets have taken away 20% of the iPad’s market share.
Interestingly, no single Android tablet has proven itself a definitive competitor to the iPad. In fact, a number of vendors have released tablets at higher price points than the iPad, which doesn’t exactly give the average consumer much incentive to try them out (akin to spending more on a knock-off Kate Spade purse than the real thing? Madness!).
ABI also notes that fragmentation is also inhibiting Android’s growth potential in the tablet space. The Android OS has three different software builds, and app developers must choose one initial software platform from which to start—but they may postpone development if there isn’t significant market potential.
“De-featured, low-cost media tablets are being introduced by more than fifty vendors in 2011,” said Jeff Orr, group director of ABI Research mobile devices. “This will certainly help bolster year-over-year growth for the category, but it also creates a negative perception in the minds of the mass consumer audience about the readiness of media tablets to be fully functional within the next several years. Good user experiences and product response are needed to propel this market beyond the ‘early adopter’ stage.”
One tablet that’s mounting a campaign that could pose a threat to the iPad is the HP TouchPad, which just dropped from $499 to $399. Some temporary sales and promotions over the last week had people talking, but now it appears that the price cut is permanent. But that appears to be the only thing going for the HP TouchPad, which debuted to dreary reviews earlier this summer. Of course, there will always be a market for those shoppers who are more interested in paying bottom dollar than getting good quality, so the TouchPad, like all the other tablets currently on the market, will probably be little more than a drain on the iPad’s overall market potential.
Image source: flickr.com