Tablet wars heating up, Android slowly gaining ground
Apple® and its iPad® have been on top of the tablet computer market ever since the device was first introduced in 2010. Other would-be competitors have entered the field since then, but few have posed much of a threat to Apple's dominance. Google's mobile operating system Android™ is often regarded as the best bet to snatch away some of Apple's market share and at least make things interesting.
Google first entered the tablet market in late 2010 and has since seen the release of dozens of Android devices from a handful of manufacturers. Some have had marginal success, while others have been complete duds. However, while no single device has proven to be the fabled "iPad killer," Android's share of the tablet market has slowly and steadily increased since these devices began rolling out.
Website service monitoring firm Pingdom has taken a look at the current standings in the tablet market and, using figures from StatCounter, determined that the so-called "tablet war" is becoming more competitive.
Tablet use increasing across the board
Though Android's market share has grown -- increasing from 10.9 percent in November 2011 to 13.0 percent in July -- Pingdom reports that the overall number of tablets sold in recent months has grown "by leaps and bounds," both on Android and iOS platforms.
Android is proving to be particularly popular in developing and emerging markets. According to Pingdom's report, Android's most successful market percentage-wise is in South America, where the mobile operating system is used on 21.4 percent of tablets. Android adoption is almost as strong in Africa and Asia as well, where Android accounts for 21.2 percent and 21.0 percent of the tablet market, respectively.
Android adoption is significantly lower in other areas of the world, including North America, Europe and Oceania, where Android accounts for 11 percent market share or less.
Not all about Android, iOS
It is important to note that Android and iOS are not the only players in the tablet market. Though their numbers are slight, there are still some users with devices running Blackberry® OS and webOS. The greatest percentage of these users are in North America, but even there, these other OSes combined account for about 2 percent of the market.
Another player that will emerge in the coming months and is expected to bring more competition to the field is Microsoft® and its Windows® 8 operating system. This latest version of Windows is the first to be designed with tablet computers in mind and recent moves suggest the company is going all in with this direction.
Since the announcement of Windows 8, Microsoft has been steadily revamping several of its products and service lines to align with the operating system's new touch-friendly user interface, dubbed Metro. Windows Live Messenger and Live Mesh have both gotten the Metro treatment, as has Microsoft's newly rebranded email service Outlook.com.
However, not everyone is certain Microsoft will enjoy the same success in the tablet market as the other heavy hitters. Though several big manufacturers are throwing their hats in with Microsoft, some industry experts have suggested the software giant waited too long to make much of a dent in the market. Results may not be immediate, and, as with Android, it may take time for Microsoft to start to make any real gains in the market.