I don’t understand how research firms and analysts come up with their predictions. It often seems like they follow a formula that ignores past successes and is overly optimistic of new products.
According to Gartner (via 9to5mac.com) tablets are set to take off over the next 4 years. I don’t think anyone debates this.
However, here are their predictions for the OS’s that those tablets are going to run:
QNX (better known as the Blackberry Playbook OS) has been a flop this year, and didn’t even exist last year. But they predict that in 2015, it will ship on 26 million tablets, or 8% market share.
Microsoft has made no real progress in the tablet space in the past few years. Each announcement has been either delayed, or cancelled. Remember when at CES 2 years ago Ballmer showed off the “slate” that ran Windows 7? It never shipped. But Gartner believes that Windows 8 will sell 34 million tablets in 2015, or double what the iPad shipped last year.
Android Tablets barely have made a dent in the market. There are a lot of them, but none have made a meaningful impact. I don’t know if Gartner includes all Androids (for instance, the Barnes and Noble Nook Color) in these figures. However, they expect that it will start approaching the iPad in 2015.
I think that at the moment, it’s anyone’s guess. Until we can start seeing the start of explosive sales from ANY of the tablet vendors other than Apple, I don’t think it’s safe to assume that the market will automatically spread out between vendors. The only safe bet for the moment is that Apple will continue to sell tons of iPads. They ARE the tablet market at this point.