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Android Tablets set to outsell Apple iPads within three to four years

Android-based phones are already outselling iPhones the world over by a very convincing margin. We’re talking at least a 2:1 margin. It is no wonder that Apple has been pushing its iPad tablet hard, it is one stronghold that has so far managed to resist the onslaught of Android. How dominant is the iOS in the tablet space? According to International Data Corporation, Android-based tablets will only begin to outself Apple’s iPads starting in 2015 or 2016. Apple exploded the tablet market with the launch of the iPad. Since 2011, tablet sales volumes reached between 65.2 and 68.7 million units. As the tablet market became segmented with Samsung, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Google Android-based tablets entries, Apple’s overall share of the market for media tablets began to decrease. In fact, it experienced a significant dip during the fourth quarter of 2011. Looking forward, IDC projects Android’s market share to continue to expand at Apple’s expense.

IDC makes it clear however that since Apple is the sole vendor for iOS products, the company will still remain dominant in terms of global vendor shipments. It will remain as the top vendor of tablets on a vendor unit basis. However, in terms of OS, the market share of Apple’s iOS will continue to slip until 2015 when Android-based tablets will surpass Apple’s market share. IDC expects that Apple’s revenue market share leadership to continue until the 2016 forecast period’s end and beyond. In other words, even if the large bulk of the world’s tablets will run on the Android, Apple will still be the top earner because its competition is heavily segmented.

On a related front, IDC is very skeptical about Microsoft Windows 8-based tablets’ market performance for 2012 and beyond. Based on IDC’s data, tablets powered by OS other than iOS and Android will reach only 2.7 million units in 2016. This is quite a low figure in light of the positive attention Windows 8 has been getting from hardware manufacturers. If Windows 8 tablets turn out to be breakout hit, IDC’s entire forecast will be wrong. The demand for media tablets continue to increase. In fact, the demand is so robust that IDC has increased its 2012 forecast from 87.7 million unit sales to 106.1 million unit sales.