Android, Windows tablets gain on iPad, says IDC

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Android and Windows-based tablets are expected to gain market share on market leader iPad this year, according to the latest estimates by IDC.

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android tablets are expected to reach 42.7 percent market share this year, compared to 39.8 percent last year, while Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows-based tablets are predicted to reach close to 3 percent of the market this year, up from 1 percent last year.

"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.

These gains will come at the expense of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad, which will see its market share decline to 53.8 percent this year from 56.3 percent last year.

Overall, IDC is predicting that tablet shipments will reach 122.3 million units worldwide this year, an uptick from its previous estimate of 117.1 units. This increase is being fueled not only by consumers, but also by the enterprise.

According to Forrester Research, 82 percent of firms reported interest in using tablets, and in 2016, businesses are expected to buy 125 million tablets.

"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. At the same time, top-tier companies like Samsung, Lenovo, and ASUS are all launching Android tablets with comparable to premium products, but offered at much lower price points," Reith said.

Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC, added, "Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others. And Apple's November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season," he commented

At the same time, IDC lowered its forecast for eReaders, with 2012 shipments expected to drop below 20 million units,  down from the 27.7 million units shipped in 2011.

While the front-lit eReader offerings from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Barnes & Noble have captured the interest of a subset of consumers who prefer a dedicated eReader, most buyers are gravitating toward multi-use tablet products and finding a "good enough" reading experience on these traditional back-lit tablets, IDC observed.

For more:
- check out IDC's tablet stats

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