November 15, 2012

Android To Out-Ship Apple Next Year? Fat Chance!

Apple will lose to Android in terms of tablet market share because everyone wants the iPad mini. That’s the basic claim that one analyst is making today, saying Android will surpass iOS next year when it comes to tablet market share.

Last I checked, having customers anxiously wait to buy your new product is a very good thing. In fact, I’d wager a guess that there were more people excited about the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT than any other Android tablet released in the past, well…ever. The same analyst (as well as many others) has already written off the Surface, by the way, saying it won’t have any effect on the larger war between Android and iOS.

Sameer Singh, analyst for Finvista Advisors looks to an IDC report which was released earlier in the month, noting that Android outsold Apple for 6 of the last 8 quarters.

That IDC report, of course, noted that iPad’s global market share slipped from 65.5% to 50.4% in a quarter wherein rumors of a new iPad mini were flying strong and 3 new tablets were released from their competitors: Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

Quoth Tom Mainelli, research director for IDC: “We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter.”

Singh, on the other hand, feels that Android’s model of “one operating system fits all” will land them in the top spot as far as market share is concerned.

“OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have learnt from Amazon’s model that diversified price points would help expand the market and take share from the iPad,” said Singh.

“This has resulted in far more broad-based growth, which is not only sustainable, but should result in an accelerated ramp up of sales over the next three to four quarters.”

And it’s probably true that Android, at some point, will outnumber iPads in terms of units shipped. It’s the Samsung situation all over again. Samsung ships more phones than Apple sells, yes, but it also helps that Samsung ships a plethora of different phones; Small phones, fat phones, smartphones, dumb phones, phones for free, phones at a high price point, phones phones phones. Apple sells the iPhone, and with this one phone, they’re consistently in the top ranks right along with Sell-As-Many-Phones-As-Possible-Samsung. But we’re talking tablets here, not phones.

So, if the question is “who will ship more?” than the answer will more than likely be Android, though I doubt it will happen next year.

This isn’t the only way to determine the “winner” in this tablet war, of course. Though Android tablets were able to narrow the gap between themselves and Apple while the world anxiously waited for the next Apple tablet, further research has shown that people are actually using their iPads and iPhones, while Android tablets and devices are likely more often used to place a call and make a text. (Yes, these phones, these plain, basic functionality phones count towards Android’s market share.) According to FreeWheel, iOS makes up 60% of all the non-Mac or PC video viewing, meaning: People actually use their iPads and iPhones.

Can you claim to be winning a market when your consumers either cannot or do not want to use their devices for what they were made for?

The name of the game isn’t numbers. Apple rarely wins the number game except when they create a new marketplace, such as the newly defined tablet market. Android will likely end up out-shipping them, but in the areas where it counts (App store numbers, App store downloads, web traffic and, finally, profit) Apple will likely remain in the lead until and Android tablet provides an efficient answer to the long-standing question: “Why should I buy this over an iPad?”

So far, it doesn’t appear as if a stylus, a kickstand and a clicky keyboard is the answer.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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