Google’s Android operating system may have become the leading player in the smartphone market, but one analyst argues that Android-powered tablets will have a tougher time overhauling the iPad.
Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi spelled out why the iPad remains the leading tablet in a recent research note (first reported by Barrons), essentially putting this down to just two things: price and distribution
“Distribution for the iPhone, at 240 carriers, is significantly lower than Samsung and Nokia, which have essentially global distribution, and Blackberry, which is distributed by 2x the number of carriers.
“By contrast, the iPad has stronger global distribution through Apple stores, carrier partners and network of resellers, including third-party retail outlets and third-party websites.”
Perhaps it is to little surprise than that the analyst claims that while Android’s smartphone share has gone from zero to 70% of the world in the space of five years, Apple’s iOS has risen from 9% to just 19% over the same time-frame.
Apple appears to be having no such problems when it comes to the iPad, with Sacconaghi saying that tablet unit shipments will probably reach 245 million units in Apple’s fiscal year starting October. Despite this positive projection (the IDC has forecast tablet shipments to reach 190 million units in 2013), the Bernstein analyst expects Apple’s market share to slide from 57% to 40%.
The company’s ability to remain dominant in the tablet market isn’t just to do with distribution, Sacconaghi argues, but also its willingness to go cheaper with the iPad mini, a hot topic considering the rumors around a cheaper iPhone.
“On balance, we believe that these factors suggest that Apple may be able to sustain higher unit share in the tablet market that in smartphones, particularly given Apple’s apparent willingness to offer lower priced devices such as the Mini.
The analyst added that the research company expects a 60-40 split between iPad mini and iPad sales in fiscal year 2014, another sign that demand is heating up for Apple’s smaller tablet.