Making long-term predictions about marketshare in a specific niche seems like risky business to me, but IDC has no qualms about putting its reputation on the line by predicting that Android tablets have a good chance of catching up with Apple's iPad, and eventually outselling it in three or four years. Oddly enough, the research firm has little expectations for Windows 8, tablets based on Microsoft's operating system are placed in the "Other" category, which is anticipated to account for as little as 2.7 million of the 198.2 million tablets expected to be sold in 2016.
Full details at X-bit Labs.
"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," said Tom Mainelli, research director of mobile connected devices at IDC.
It is noteworthy that IDC is extremely skeptic about market performance of Microsoft Windows 8-based tablets in 2012 and going forward. According to the company's data, tablets powered by "other" OSs will be sold only in 2.7 million unit quantities in 2016, which is very surprising, given the interest towards Windows 8 from hardware suppliers. The potential success of Windows 8 tablets will mean that IDC's current forecast will turn out to be completely inaccurate.
Some tablet marketshare from Q4 2011 can be found at FUD Zilla. Apple was the largest tablet maker with 54.7 percent marketshare, Amazon follows at quite a distance with 16.8 percent with its Kindle Fire tablet and Samsung is third 5.8 percent share. One interesting thing to note though is that Amazon's Kindle Fire wasn't available for the first six weeks of the quarter, the device started shipping in mid-November so the marketshare doesn't reflect a full quarter of sales.