Tablets are hot. The numbers don’t lie. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker, worldwide media tablet shipments into sales channels rose by 56.1% on a sequential basis in Q4 2011 to 28.2 million units worldwide. That’s a whopping 155% increase over the fourth quarter of 2010. Ultimately this all equates to a total of 68.7 million units worldwide for the entirety 2011. The results have shocked analaysts and promped them to up their 2012 forecast to 106.1 million units, formerly a forecast of 87.7 million units.
So where is Android in all this?
As predicted, Android gobbled market share in Q4 2011, thanks in no small part to the Amazon Kindle Fire’s resounding success. Android grew its market share from 32.3% in Q3 to 44.6% in Q4. As a result, iOS slipped from 61.6% market share to 54.7%. It appears the tables are continuing to turn. Looking ahead, IDC expects Android to continue to grow its share of the market at the expense of iOS.
Of course Apple won’t necessarily be hurting much. Tom Mainelli, the research director, had this to say:
“As the sole vendor shipping iOS products, Apple will remain dominant in terms of worldwide vendor unit shipments. However, the sheer number of vendors shipping low-priced, Android-based tablets means that Google’s OS will overtake Apple’s in terms of worldwide market share by 2015. We expect iOS to remain the revenue market share leader through the end of our 2016 forecast period and beyond.”
For better or worse, tablets are claiming the future.