Survey: Android Tablets To Overtake the iPad

In the mobile device wars, two trends have become clear over the last several years: Android is the preferred platform for phones (although iPhone remains very popular), and Apple reigns supreme on the tablet side. But that dichotomy may be changing on the tablet side, according to a new survey from analyst firm IDG.

The study of more than 3,100 business and IT professionals shows that, although the iPad does hold a healthy lead among those who already own a tablet -- 60 percent to 31 percent -- those who have yet to buy a tablet device are much more open to Android. So much so, in fact, that 33 percent plan on going with an Android tablet, vs. 31 percent who say they'll opt for an iPad.

The disparity is even more pronounced among IT pros, 49 percent of whom say their next tablet will be an Android, compared with just 26 percent who will buy an iPad.

IDG's report notes that these results don't jibe with those from other firms, including IDC, which says Apple will maintain its preeminence in the tablet market; Forrester, which predicts an actual decline in the installed Android base by 2015; and Gartner, which estimates that iPad will triple Android's market growth in the next three years.

The IDG survey, however, shows a much different picture of the future. And that picture gets rosier for Android as those surveyed get geographically further from Apple. The iPad/Android future purchase is in essentially a dead heat in North America, with 30.1 saying their next tablet will be an Android, and 29 percent an iPad; but all other regions show a much stronger preference for Android tablets. For example, respondents in Europe are planning an Android purchase by a landslide of 49 percent to 22 percent; in South America, it's 50 percent Android to 21 percent iPad; and in Africa, the split's 43 percent to 20 percent in favor of Android.

A big reason for the potential rise in sales is price. "The survey data confirms that Android owners are more price sensitive than iPad owners," the report states. Other factors, such as OS functionality, app availability, branding and appearance don't have much of a discrepancy for prospective buyers.

The report notes that Microsoft is getting in on the act as well, with Windows 8 tablets coming this year. They see that as a good thing. The report concludes:

"Ultimately, the effects of competition will be positive. If Apple, Google and Microsoft are serious about fighting each other, they will woo marketers and media owners with more data, more openness, better ad platforms and reduced gatekeeper fees."

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.