Apple's supremacy as tablet market leader may be even shorter lived than previous analyst forecasts suggest. Already, Android topples iOS share, and there is simple catalyst: White-box slates accounted for one-third of shipments last year -- a level NPD DisplaySearch predicts will continue in 2013 and beyond.
Android is the big beneficiary of the trend. In third quarter 2012, shipments exceeded iOS models, according to IDC. During first quarter this year, green-robot slates took 56.5 percent market share. At this pace, contrary to analyst predictions just a year ago, Android does to iOS in tablets what it did in smartphones -- take early leadership away from Apple.
This week IDC released tablet market estimates and the figures are quite a bit off from my original Q1 estimate, but eerily similar to my revised estimate based on NPD's figures. Android tablets are poised to permanently steal the tablet market crown from the iPad, while Windows tablets continue to struggle. Let's take a deeper look at the figures.
Android now leads the tablet market, with a share of 56.5 percent, while the iPad's share falls below 40 percent. Windows tablets are still struggling, with a share below 4 percent and with struggling shipment figures, sell-through is always questionable.
Last month Google altered the method of collecting data for its Android distribution charts, now measuring the popularity of the operating system iterations by visits to the app store instead of check-ins to the company's servers as before. The move significantly changed the results compared to the previous month, but is there a noticeable difference that is felt in the Android distribution charts for May?
Based on the number of devices visiting Google Play during the 14 days ending May 1, Jelly Bean now ranks as the most popular Android sweet, after Gingerbread. With a combined distribution level of 29.4 percent, for Android 4.1 and Android 4.2, Jelly Bean surpassed Ice Cream Sandwich, which now runs on 27.5 percent of all droids.
So much for Apple's tablet reign that analysts stoutly stood by even just months ago. Android kicks ass, crushing iOS shipments during first quarter, according to IDC. Among the top four, the fruit-logo company posted the lowest year-over-year growth (65.3 percent), and considerably less than the overall market (142.4 percent). Meanwhile, the company's market share fell by 18.5 points to 39.6 percent.
Among tablet manufacturers, Apple is market leader, with the question being for how much longer. Samsung share rose 282.6 percent -- ASUS even more (350 percent). Strong Nexus 7 shipments pushed ASUS past Amazon to take third place. ASUS' challenge and opportunity could be Google I/O, where the tablet launched last year and new model is rumored for the event starting May 15. Challenge is maintaining shipments during product transition; opportunity is capitalizing on new sales.
Many people want Microsoft to die, and the sooner the better. I’m not in that group, although I understand that years upon years of letdowns through viruses, DLL hell, BSODs (Blue Screens of Death) and a myriad of other problems lead many in the tech world (and consumer world, too) to walk away from everything Microsoft. Add to that the growth of the Internet and mobile devices as well as slumping PC sales, and you can see why so many wait with baited breath to see the company go away for good.
Nevertheless, quarter after quarter Microsoft continues to prove that it still has life and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, in 2011, CEO Steve Ballmer explained how the company intends to reinvent around devices and services. Seeing that the growth of mobile devices and the services that support them represent the future of computing, Microsoft responds yet again to the changing world of computing.
Here's a question for you: Is a company-provided device a benefit? You don't pay for hardware, software or service but might get older gear as hidden personal cost. I ask, because if Gartner is right, you'll soon pay, whether or not you want to. A survey of CIOs finds that 38 percent of companies plan to stop providing employees with devices by 2016. Wait a bit before reading on and think about what that really means.
"We're finally reaching the point where IT officially recognizes what has always been going on: People use their business device for nonwork purposes", David Willis, Gartner vice president, says. As someone working from home full time since May 1999, I must confess to rarely using company-issued computers or other devices. But that was my choice, and one often not supported by IT departments. Now, for many workers, there will be only choice of bringing their own.
Accessories can make a portable device better. If you own the ASUS-manufactured, Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet, surely there is a case protecting it; sometimes, anyway. Some can prop the tablet, but there's another option. Can a dock improve the user experience and even extend the utility? That's what this quickie review seeks to answer.
The Nexus 7 dock is the official issue, made by ASUS, and sold from Google Play for $29.99. I ordered mine in late January, for $39.99, from B&H Photo, back when only third parties carried the accessory. Since then, the retailer dropped the price by five bucks. B&H took my order when the dock was out of stock, but shipped 8 days later. If you want this thing, don't be deterred by availability elsewhere but forget Google Play, which isn't taking orders as I write. Expect to spend more elsewhere. By the way, I would have waited and paid less, had I known better.
For road warriors looking to catch up on the latest events, reply to important business emails, or perform some crucial tasks while traveling, a cellular data connection is a must-have feature for a tablet. The best case scenario -- if Wi-Fi is not available or a safe option -- is to rely on a smartphone in order to tether, which drains its battery in a couple of hours (at best). Definitely not an option for a lot of people.
Luckily, Dell finally gets it. The American company introduces a new cellular data option for the XPS 10 which gives the Windows RT-based tablet the ability to connect to 4G LTE networks. Considering that the device was launched around the same time as Windows 8 and Windows RT, it took Dell quite some time to make cellular data a priority, at least for the XPS 10.
The E3 game expo is just six weeks away and where Nintendo should have big visibility. Instead, today, the company president shares plans about greatly scaled-back presence, less than 24 hours after IDC warned that paying smartphone and tablet gamers will exceed their handheld counterparts this year.
For Microsoft and Sony, which have new consoles coming this year, E3 2013 will be big happenings. But not Nintendo. "We decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past", president Satoru Iwata says. "Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market".
Back in December, I explained: "Surface RT sales are quite good, you just don't know about it". The Internet Idiocracy called the tablet a failure, while based on sales per store I saw success. Surface Pro shipped the following month. Now there are real numbers, and they're quite good -- for all Windows tablets -- validating touch-focused Modern UI.
During first quarter, Windows captured 7.5 percent global branded tablet market share, according to Strategy Analytics. That's up from zero a year earlier. Unit shipments: 3 million. Right now, Microsoft is the major seller of branded Windows tablets. Granted there are others, like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Samsung.
Typing on touchscreen devices is very different from using a conventional keyboard and the traditional layout doesn’t help much. Researchers at the University of St Andrews, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Montana Tech have come up with a new layout that claims to allow tablet users to thumb type 34 percent faster.
Named KALQ after the order that the characters appear, it's been developed to provide optimal character positions when typing on a tablet. By spreading the characters used in commonly typed words such as "on", "see", "you" and "read" which on a QWERTY keyboard would all need to be typed with one thumb, KALQ speeds up typing and minimizes strain.
If you live outside of the US and Canada, you might have been wondering when -- or indeed if -- Microsoft's flagship Surface Pro tablet was going to appear in your part of the world.
It’s been all quiet on the Surface front for a while. Microsoft announced back in February that it would be broadening the availability of the RT version of its tablet, introducing it into 13 more European countries, but since then we haven’t had any other real news. That’s all about to change though, as Microsoft has finally delivered an update regarding worldwide availability for its Windows 8 Pro powered device.
During yesterday's earnings conference call, departing CFO Peter Klein says that Microsoft is "working closely with OEMs on a new suite of small touch devices powered by Windows. These devices will have competitive price points, partly enabled by our latest OEM offerings designed specifically for these smaller devices, and will be available in the coming months".
The rumors are true, and, presumably, because of the context Klein makes the statement, these devices will run Windows 8 -- rather than RT or Embedded. For example, he refers to support for new Intel processors, Haswell and Bay Trail Atom. The former is expected to ship with back-to-school ultrabooks and convertibles. The latter is designed for smaller touch devices, including tablets. During Intel's earnings call this week, CEO Paul Otellini predicted that for touch-screen notebooks running the new Atom processor, "prices are going to be down to as low as $200". Merry Christmas!
I own an iPad, which I love dearly. I use it for lots of things -- games, email, browsing the web, social networking, writing, viewing photos and video, and remote accessing my PC. The iPad, like all tablets, is a true jack of all trades and a master of some too.
But, try as I might, I can’t use it for "real" tasks. While it’s fine for writing small-ish articles on, I could never write a novel on it -- and I’ve tried. For some reason, I just can’t connect with typing on a touchscreen in the same way I do when typing on a proper full-size keyboard. And I could never imagine attempting detailed Photoshop work on a touchscreen either (well, not without a fine stylus at least).
UK polling company YouGov has released the results of its latest Quarterly Tablet Tracker for the first three months of 2013. It shows that consumers now see Android tablets as equal in quality to the iPad and as a result their makers are eating into Apple's share of the premium market.
Although it still has the largest slice of the UK's tablet market, Apple has seen its share drop by 10 percent in the past 12 months. Despite the launch of the iPad Mini and 4th generation iPad, Apple now has 63 percent of the market compared to 73 percent this time last year.