Compared with the meteoric rise of Apple's iPad, tablet computers based on Google's Android operating system have started slow out of the gate.
However, new research from Gartner finds Android tablets will saturate the market enough to help the platform command 40 percent market share by 2015, up from 20 percent through 2011.
That's second to iPad's 47 percent, and an almost unthinkable target number given the slow sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Motorola Mobility's Xoom slate, which is based on the Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" operating system tailored for tablets.
Deutsche Bank estimated that Motorola has sold 100,000 Xooms since its launch Feb. 24, a number that pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of iPad 2s that shipped in the first weekend of sales. There are anecdotes that consumers aren't happy with the Honeycomb software, finding it hard to use or even buggy.
Even so, just as Android has stormed up the smartphone charts by sheer exposure on more than 100 devices all over the world, a proliferation of Honeycomb tablets will buoy sales for the platform over the next four years.
"Volume will be driven by support from many players, the ecosystem of applications for tablets getting more competitive and some platform flexibility allowing lower price points," said Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza.
However, Cozza also said Google's decision to delay the release of its Honeycomb source code to open source will yield "optimal tablet implementations" of higher quality. This could mean Android tablet prices will drop at a slower pace than they have in the smartphone market, possibly capping Android market share.
In the near term, the iPad will corral 69 percent market share through 2011. With Android nabbing 20 percent, there appears to be only 11 percent market opportunity for HP's TouchPad and Research In Motion's PlayBook to fight over.
For more, read the eWEEK article: Android Tablets to Have 40% Market Share: Gartner.
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