iPad tablet share to slide – but where’s Windows?

Apple’s share of the tablet market will drop below 50% by 2015, according to Gartner – even excluding competition from Microsoft.

The iPad’s share of the global tablet market will slip from 83.6% this year to 47.1% by 2015, as rival Android climbs from 14.2% to 38.6%, the analyst firm predicts.

Garnter didn’t think much of MeeGo or HP’s webOS, saying the pair would grab 1% and 3%, respectively, while RIM’s QNX would claim 10%.

The stats leave out one major tablet hopeful: Microsoft. A Gartner spokeswoman told PC Pro that it doesn’t include desktop OSes in its market share profiles, only mobile platforms – despite manufacturers releasing tablets running Windows 7 as direct competition to Android and iOS devices.

Prices will drop at a slower pace than what we have seen in the smartphone market

Whether Windows 7 meets Gartner’s definition of a tablet OS or not, the good news for all tablet makers is the market is set to jump from 17.6 million devices this year to 294 million in 2015 – giving even those struggling to grab market share a significant boost in sales.

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said that applications and platform would be more important to customers than the actual hardware.

She suggested Gartner’s predictions were based on smartphone shares, saying consumers will likely buy a tablet running the same system as their phone.

“This is so that they can share applications across devices as well as for the sense of familiarity the user interfaces will bring,” Milanesi said.

“Vendors developing on Android should be prepared to see more cross-brand ownership as some users might put OS over brand when it comes to the purchasing decision,” she added. “Improvements on usability and brand recognition are the strongest differentiators they can focus on.”

However, analyst Roberta Cozza noted that Google’s tighter controls on the tablet version of Android could mean prices stay high.

“The new licensing model Google has introduced with Honeycomb enables Google to drive more control, allowing only optimal tablet implementations that don’t compromise quality of experience,” Cozza said. “This might mean that prices will drop at a slower pace than what we have seen in the smartphone market.”

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