/ 12 April 2011

Apple’s iPad could remain top tablet in 2015

The tablet computer market is heating up with new entrants all the time, but Apple’s iPad will remain the top device over the next few years, according to technology research company Gartner.

Gartner, in a forecast released on Monday, said mounting competition will see Apple’s share of the touch screen tablet market decline but the iPad will still make up nearly half of all tablets sold in 2015.

Gartner said the iPad will account for 47% of worldwide sales of 294,3-million tablets in 2015, down from 63,5% of 108,2-million units to be sold in 2012 and 68,7% of 69,7-million tablets to be sold this year.

The iPad, which was released in April of last year, accounted for 83,9% of the total 17,6-million tablets sold in 2010, according to Gartner.

Gartner said tablets running Google’s Android operating system will see their market share rise steadily — from 14,2% last year, to 19,9% this year, to 24,4% in 2012 and 38,6% in 2015.

Tablets running Blackberry maker Research In Motion’s QNX software will claim 5,6% of the tablet market this year, 6,6% in 2012 and 10% in 2015, Gartner said.

The only other significant player in Gartner’s forecast was Hewlett-Packard with tablets running the WebOS operating system acquired from Palm.

WebOS tablets were forecast to have 4% of the market by the end of 2011, 3,9% by 2012 and 3% by 2015.

Microsoft, which has been marketing its Windows operating system to tablet makers around the world, was notably absent from the Gartner forecast.

Blackberry’s first tablet, the PlayBook, goes on sale on April 19.

Gartner research vice-president Carolina Milanesi said “it will take time and significant effort for RIM to attract developers and deliver a compelling ecosystem of applications and services around QNX to position it as a viable alternative to Apple or Android”.

“This will limit RIM’s market share growth over the forecast period,” she said.

“It will be mainly organisations that will be interested in RIM’s tablets because they either already have RIM’s infrastructure deployed or have stringent security requirements,” she added.

Milanesi said that in general, “smartphone users will want to buy a tablet that runs the same operating system as their smartphone”.

“This is so that they can share applications across devices as well as for the sense of familiarity the user interfaces will bring,” she said. — Sapa-AFP