The Apple iPad has been pretty dominant in the tablet industry ever since it arrived. Android made a late entry to the scene with the formal launch of the Motorola XOOM with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, although tablets with Android 2.2 were freely available in the market prior to its launch. But Honeycomb was not a success and Google had to take some tough decisions. And today we have seen the demise of Honeycomb with a unified OS running the show in the Android tablet scene. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean are the current iterations of Android that run on the new-gen tablets. And now according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, Android tablets now hold a stable 48% market share in the tablet industry with the iPad taking a huge fall at 52%. In 2011, Apple held a healthy 81% of marketshare while Android was cramping for room with 15%, while the rest of the tablets made up for 4% of the pie.
The huge gain in numbers this time around can be accounted to the success of the Amazon Kindle Fire which launched last year to massive pre orders and sales figures (though Amazon didn’t make the exact numbers public). Of the 48% that Android currently holds, it is said that 21% came from the Kindle Fire sales. So that should tell you exactly how popular budget tablets are. This doesn’t seem like a recent survey as the Nexus 7 is nowhere in the picture. But I’m fairly certain that subsequent surveys would reflect the popularity of the ASUS-Google branded tablet. As the Kindle Fire doesn’t have most of the Google goodness on board and it relies on the Amazon App Store as there’s no Google Play, the numbers are quite astonishing. With the two new Kindle Fire HD tablets set to launch in November, the number could go even higher.
As for Apple, this is pretty bad news. The company announced the new iPad with a Retina Display and A5X chip which promised better than ever performance. But despite that, people seem to be favoring Android. However, with the iPad Mini in tow, things could change considerably. But we’ll know when that happens. Apple must be busy at work trying to sue either one of the Android OEMs, but unless they come up with something better to combat these Android tablets, we don’t see things changing too much. We must take into consideration that it’s one or two of Apple’s tablets against the rest of the tablet sphere, so it’s not really a fair contest. It’s good to see Android tabs making a strong comeback though.