Although hundreds of millions of portable and desktop PCs running Windows sell each year, tablet computing has clearly taken off as never before since the iPad’s original launch in 2010.
Since the iPad’s launch, Apple’s iPad has sold in the tens of millions, emerging as a clear and present danger to traditional computing sales, especially given the incredible ease-of-use that tablets offer over conventional computers.
Naturally, this has not escaped the public, who have been buying all these tablets (along with those in business and the enterprise), and it hasn’t escaped analysts either, with ABI Research predicting that over 100 million tablets will be sold during 2012.
ABI’s research says that April to June 2012 alone saw nearly 25 million tablets sold, with “total shipments growing 36% quarter-over-quarter and 77% year-on-year” – alongside Apple’s taking “nearly 69% of worldwide volumes for the period” – a stunning result for the crunchy company.
ABI does note that Google’s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface Tablet (running Windows RT) should see Android’s share improving and Microsoft’s share growing too, with Microsoft having announced it is making 3 million Surface RT Tablets in what is a giant first run.
If Microsoft manages to sell all these tablets during 2012, it will have a 3% share, but that doesn’t count all of the other Windows tablets – both running Windows RT and Windows 8 – due to come from other vendors, making Microsoft the biggest tablet threat it has ever been, despite having had tablets on the market for a decade.
Interestingly, ABI notes that “the majority of tablet shipments” are only Wi-Fi models, and suggests this “restricts device use to homes, facilities and public hotspots”, which is an unusual claim for a big time analyst firm to make.
After all, with so many smartphones able to switch on Internet hotspot/tethering capabilities, and with so many portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices so widely available at inexpensive pre-paid and post-paid pricing, you have to wonder why ABI doesn’t acknowledge this and realise that plenty of Wi-Fi only tablets are being used outside of homes, facilities and public hotspots.
However, the mysteries of analysts remain mysterious, so you, dear reader, so you can make your own judgements, although it’s most likely the case that ABI Research explains this in whatever its paid research documents, for it is no secret.
Ultimately, tablets will be hotter than ever in the second half of 2012, thanks to the surprising maturity of the tablet market even though Microsoft is effectively a brand new entrant once more.
So… whether you’re an iFan, a Fandroid or at what level you rate Windows RT/8, it’s going to be the most tablet-y year yet!