Today ABI Research announced that Apple’s iPad dominated the media tablet market in 2010, holding 85 percent of the market share. Of course, this isn’t exactly surprising news with no true iPad competitor in existence yet. The Samsung Galaxy Tab was a not so close second with eight percent market share, and the Archos Internet tablets managed to snag just two percent market share. These three vendors account for 95 percent of the media tablet market.
Apple got a huge jump on its competitors releasing the iPad in early 2010, and now other manufacturers are scrambling to catch up. For now, though, the iPad deserves a large slice of the tablet pie for launching us in to the era of mobile computing. During the second half of 2010, after the release of the iPad, there was a spike in tablet, netbook, and broadband-enabled eBook reader sales, and that increase is expected to continue well in to the future. According to Jeff Orr of ABI, “With increasing choices for consumers and greater opportunities for businesses to consider ultra-mobile devices, we expect multiple device categories to benefit in the near-term.” In fact, ABI predicts that manufacturers will ship 40 to 50 million tablets worldwide in 2011.
Research suggests that we will see many new low-feature and low-cost designs, as new manufacturers try to distinguish themselves from the iPad and its $499+ price point. In addition, several Android tablets will hit the market in 2011, and with the release of Android’s dedicated tablet OS, Honeycomb, Apple’s iPad 2 may have some actual competition, but only time will tell.