Apple's iPad will grow its share of the booming tablet market over its Android-based rivals this year, thanks in large part to new features introduced with the iPad 3 and the company's decision to reduce the prices further on the iPad 2, according to market research firm IDC.
The prediction comes as IDC analysts, citing the expected strong demand for media tablets in the second half of the year, increased their forecasts for the market overall, calling for 107.4 million tablets to be sold this year, up from the previous expectation of 106.1 million.
And the momentum will only continue, the analysts said in a report June 14. For 2013, they increased their forecast from 137.4 million units to 142.8 million, with sales jumping to 222.1 million by 2016. Those numbers could increase after the upcoming release of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, which will offer not only touch-screen capabilities but also run on non-x86 systems, such as tablets powered by system-on-a-chip (SoC) architectures like ARM Holdings.
Tablets also are getting more looks from businesses, according to Tom Mainelli, research director for mobile connected devices at IDC.
"Demand for media tablets remains robust, and we see an increasing interest in the category from the commercial side," Mainelli said in a statement. "We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year."
Apple and its iPad are going to be the primary beneficiary of the market growth, according to IDC. In 2011, the iPad and its iOS operating system held 58.2 percent of the market. This year, that share will grow to 62.5 percent. That will come at the expense of tablets running Google's Android operating system, which will see its share slip from 38.7 percent last year to 36.5 percent in 2012, the analysts said.
Struggling BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion, with its PlayBook tablet, will see its already anemic market share drop even farther, from 1.7 percent in 2011 to 1 percent this year.
This article was originally published on 06-18-2012