The tablet market continues to surpass all projections as consumers gobble up the Apple iPad and iPad Mini, according to research firm IDC.
As a result, the research firm raised its 2012 forecast for the worldwide tablet market from 117.1 million units to 122.3 million units.
“Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower price points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond,” Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC, said in a news release.
That’s the good news for Apple Inc. The not-so-good news: Tablets using Google Inc.’s Android operating system continue to gain momentum. IDC projected that market share for Android tablets would rise from 39.8 percent in 2011 to 42.7 percent in 2012. Apple is expected to see its market share for tablets decline, from 56.3 percent to 53.8 percent.
The reason Android seems to be gaining traction: price.
“The breadth and depth of Android has taken full effect on the tablet market as it has for the smartphone space,” said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Android tablet shipments will certainly act as the catalyst for growth in the low-cost segment in emerging markets given the platform’s low barrier to entry on manufacturing.”
Oh, and those Windows tablets? IDC expects Windows tablets to go from 2.9 percent in 2012 to just above 10 percent of the market in 2016. Whether that’s enough to establish Microsoft as a credible player in this market will be seen.