iPad Still Top Tablet … For Now

IDC Tablet PredictionsThe iPad continues to dominate the tablet market and its sales are still increasing more quarter-over-quarter than Android tablets. But with the increasing number of Android tablets hitting the market and the popularity of the Kindle Fire, IDC projects that Android-based tablets will catch up and overtake iOS’ lead in the next four year. TechCrunch highlights some numbers from the new report:

While Apple will continue to be the single biggest tablet maker on the market, Android, collectively, will continue to hold its own against it, with some notable devices like the Amazon Kindle Fire doing particularly well. But it will not be until 2016 — four years from now — that IDC thinks that Android shipments will outnumber those of iOS.

Even though the Kindle Fire was available only in the U.S. in Q4, IDC says that the $199 device accounted for 16.8 percent of all tablet shipments in Q4 2011, or some 4.7 million units, making it the largest “Android” vendor. …

[It wasn’t] a match for Apple, however, which accounted for 54.7 percent of all shipments in Q4, or 15.4 million units. While that was a rise of 110 percent over the year before, that still did not outpace the overall growth of the tablet market, which IDC says grew by 155 percent between the two quarters. Overall, Android tablets accounted for 44.6 percent of all sales, while RIM’s PlayBook slipped down to 0.7 percent from 1.1 percent a year before.

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The rapid growth of Android tablet popularity is pretty impressive though when you consider the fact that just last year (before the Kindle Fire came out), no single table or tablet manufacturer held more than 5% of the market other than Apple (which commanded a whopping 73%). Those numbers reflect a study done by Forrester Research in September 2011. From TechCrunch:

Despite the rush of tablets that have come out in the past year, many built on Google’s Android OS, Apple has managed to continue to run away with the competition, and how has 73 percent of the tablet market. No Android tablet maker, it notes, has more than a 5 percent share against it. …

In Forrester’s analysis, Samsung has a 5 percent share; Motorola 4 percent and Acer a 3 percent share. HP’s TouchPad, now discontinued, had a 6 percent share, but that was during that series of crazy fire sales when everyone suddenly rushed to buy one.

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