Tablet shipments owned by Android, slates could pass PCs in 2014

Tablet shipments with Android in the lead
As tablet sales rise, shipments of Android devices increase

Tablet shipments increased in the second quarter of this year, even though there hasn't been a new iPad in nine months and the new Nexus 7 launched outside of the April to June period.

With 51.7 million slates shipped in the 3-month span, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, the industry saw a 43 percent rise in shipments from the 36.1 million last year.

The main benefactor of the increased interest in tablets was Google and its partners, which have secured a 67 percent global share among the well-priced slates.

"Android is now making steady progress due to hardware partners like Samsung, Amazon, Google and White-Box tablets," said Peter King, Strategy Analytics director of tablets, in a statement.

Waiting for iPad 5, iPad mini 2

iPad shipments, meanwhile, declined 14 percent in the second quarter of this year, as Apple managed to ship just 14.6 million tablets.

"In the same quarter a year ago the first Retina display iPads [the iPad 3] were launched which could partly explain the decline as there were no new models in this quarter," noted King.

"However, to compensate that, iPad mini which was not available a year ago, now freely available was expected to take the figure higher than 14.6 million."

Consumers may be holding off on iOS tablet purchases with the expectation that Apple will launch the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 in October.

Microsoft at 4.5 percent

Not to be forgotten, Windows-based tablets accounted for 4.5 percent of the global tablet market from April to the end of June.

Microsoft Surface tablets may see an increase in the next quarter, theorizes the marketing firm.

"There may be an uptick in Windows RT shipments in Q3 following savage price cuts by all the partners still involved in the RT Market."

"Microsoft has reduced prices by $150 and other vendors even more; they are still not cheap, but are much more where they should be to compete."

That's about a £98, AU$16 price drop, by the way.

The firm notes that the Surface is beset by other long-term problems, including a shortage of apps and little incentive for developers to work on the platform.

I'm neither a Mac nor a PC

The popularity of all tablets is taking a toll on the PC market, which is expected to switch places with tablet devices next year, according to NPD numbers found by The Next Web.

"The PC market is clearly shifting away from notebooks and toward tablets," said NPD Senior Analyst Richard Shim.

"Shipments of tablet PCs are expected to reach nearly 364 million worldwide in 2014, more than doubling the projected 177 million shipments of standard notebook PC and ultra-slim PCs."

Tablet shipments are already expected to outpace notebook computers this year, according to the same research firm.

By 2017, tablet shipments are projected to reach 589 million, with notebooks and ultra-slim PCs accounting for just 176 million.

Matt Swider