Google continues to make inroads in the tablet market. At the developer conference this morning in San Francisco, Sundar Pichai said that Android runs on 62% of all tablets.
That’s up from 39% share in 2012 and 46% in 2013.
Just a few years earlier, Apple all but exclusively owned the tablet market. Thanks to the introduction of the iPad in 2011, Apple took an early lead and leveraged its first mover advantage to virtually lock in the entire tablet market – competitors such as Samsung (Galaxy Tab), and Motorola (Zoom) could only manage to eek out microscopic sales by comparison.
Many analysts have cited several reasons for the dramatic growth of Android-powered tablets.
Ease of Use
Android has come far. Early versions were not always intuitive. In particular, Honeycomb, designed specifically for tablets, did not earn praise, and consumers stayed away. With features such as voice recognition (“Ok, Google”), Google Now, and a dramatically improved look and feel, Google (and its partners) has managed to even the playing field with the Apple iPad.
Once upon a time the Play Store (formerly called Android Market) was a lonely place. By comparison, Apple had millions of apps. Developers would prioritize iOS first – there were more users, and, logically, that was where the money was at. This too is now longer an issue in 2014. Compare iTunes App Store to the Play Store and you’ll find similar offerings, and little to differentiate one platform over the other.
The Samsung Effect
If there’s one company that has proven it has what it takes it’s Samsung. With a seemingly never ending release of Android-powered smartphones and tablets, the Korean juggernaut has rode Google’s coattails (largely in part because of its royalty free platform) to incredible market success. According to IDC Samsung’s tablet market share has grown to about 22%. Meanwhile iPad sales have fallen 16% year over year.
At I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, Google is unveiling a refreshed design for its Android operating system. Many expect several product related announcements including, perhaps, a much-rumored Nexus 8 tablet.