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Apple to continue tablet dominance for years

Apple to continue tablet dominance for years
iPads are going to stay popular... who knew?

New research for Gartner suggests that Apple is going to see off the growing threat of Android tablets for years to come.

The iPad is the dominant tablet at the moment, nabbing 14.6 million sales in 2010 and is likely to up that to a whopping 46 million in 2011 - and will stand at a staggering 148 million by 2015.

In the same period, Android tablets sold just over 2.5 million in 2010, will hit 11 million in 2011 and will only begin encroaching on Apple's dominance by 2014, with an estimated 116 million Android-based tablets sold in 2015.

The other interesting area to note from the research is Microsoft's tablet share will put it squarely in third place in three years, despite having almost no presence in the market now, with an estimated 34 million sales.

Cheaper is better

The main drivers for the rise in Android, according to Gartner, will be the possible launch of a cheaper tablet from Amazon and the proliferation of the low cost market in Asia - with high cost the principle reason the platform has barely made a mark in the tablet space so far.

"Most of Apple's competitors are struggling to meet Apple's prices without considerably sacrificing margins. Screen quality and processing power are the two hardware features that vendors cannot afford to compromise on," said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.

"They should consider everything else 'nice to have,' rather than essential, in order to keep bills-of-materials costs competitive with those of the iPad."

From Garnter