2013 will be the year Android tablets steal the crown from the iPad, according to an IDC report out Tuesday (via GigaOM). Tablets running the Android operating system will soar to 48.8% by the end of 2013, overtaking iOS which falls to 46.0% of the tablet market. The numbers shrink a bit when the projection is carried out to 2013, with Android and iOS tablets comprising 46.0% and 43.5% of the market, respectively. The IDC gives two reasons for Android overtaking iOS in 2013.
First, as the cost of components and production decrease, the savings are passed along to the consumer and drives the cost of Android tablets below $250. By contrast the iPad mini, Apple’s cheapest tablet on the market today, has a base MSRP of $330, putting the tablet just outside of what some consumers are willing to spend.
Second, consumers are more open to tablets with a smaller screen. Though 7” Android tablets have been around for several years, consumers have only recently begun buying these smaller tablets en masse. The IDC estimates that a full one in two tablets sold during the first quarter of 2013 are 8” or smaller, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Indeed the IDC report speculates that sales of the iPad mini will surpass sales of the larger iPad in 2013.
Meanwhile, the IDC suggests that tablets running Microsoft’s Windows platform will reach just under 5% this year, with a majority of sales going to Windows 8 Professional devices such as the Surface Pro. The IDC projects this will reach around 10% by 2017, with most of the gains between 2013 and 2017 also going to Windows Pro devices, suggesting Microsoft missed the mark with the company’s Surface RT platform.
Ultimately, I think we’ll see a slightly more balanced market in 2014 and 2015. I’ve reached out to individuals in IT departments in various organizations, and a majority of those who responded indicated they are considering Windows Pro tablet-hybrid devices as part of their annual computer refresh cycle strategy, and several were already piloting the Surface Pro as a laptop/desktop replacement for some workers. As the workplace becomes more mobile (sorry, Yahoo!), organizations will more frequently turn to devices like the Surface Pro or cheaper full-Windows alternatives for their employees, and I can easily see Windows market share coming in around 15-25% by 2017.
This article was written by Anthony Domanico
Anthony is the Editor in Chief of Techgress, and a big mobile and gaming geek. He's covered mobile technology for the better part of three years, and gets excited about shiny, new things. He currently uses an iPhone, iPad Mini, and Nexus 7, but Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry devices are never too far away.