Looks like Samsung will need to build a new OS if it wants to catch the iPad

by Doug Drinkwater

April 12 2013

Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note devices run on Google's Android operating system
Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note devices run on Google's Android operating system

‘Keep going, Samsung, but now may be a time to look at Android alternatives’. That appears to be the message from a new ABI Research report, one which hints that Samsung is quickly outgrowing Google’s operating system.

The research firm’s latest study brings positive news on the state of the tablet market and forecasts that 150 million tablets will ship in 2013, representing a year-on-year rise of 38%. 

ABI Research says that Apple’s iPad still ruled the roost with a 60% slice of the tablet market last year but adds that Android models, which currently account for 37% of all tablets, are starting to become cool.

“The tide is definitely turning toward Android-based tablets, though Apple will not slouch as it feels the competition approaching,” said ABI’s mobile analyst Jeff Orr

“The iPad mini was a timely introduction in 2012, though ABI Research remains cautious about the bottom line impact this is having for Apple.  The first quarter of 2013 should be the first time where production was able to meet market demand and a better sense of how much 9.7” iPad volume has switched to the smaller, lower-cost mini will be understood.”

The report claims that Samsung could be the real winner when it comes to rising interest in Android models, with its market share forecast to as much as double this year, but warns that the Korean company could be felled by a lack of innovation on Google’s part.

“The next opportunity is for a vendor challenger to break away from the pack and move closer to Apple.  Most would consider Samsung the likely pursuer, though the company was mired in legal proceedings during much of 2012,” reads the press release on the report.

“The success Samsung has seen during the past year with smartphones, Android OS, and the Galaxy Note II is expected to migrate across to tablets in 2013. 

“Unfortunately, there are few 'fast followers' capable of emulating the ownership of technology that Samsung has, suggesting that more innovation is necessary within the Android OS that pulls tablet OEMs closer to Apple.”

If Samsung was to move away from Android, it certainly wouldn't lack the know-how when it comes to mobile operating systems. The firm first announced the Bada OS in 2009 but later merged the smartphone OS with the open-source, Intel-backed Tizen. Samsung is now said to be working on smartphones that will run the Tizen operating system

Meanwhile, while the study makes for good reading if you’re Google, Amazon or any other Android vendor for that matter, it also shows just how far Windows 8 has got to grow before it can seriously rival Android or Apple's iOS.

ABI Research found that Windows (Windows 7, 8 and RT), BlackBerry and “unidentified OS implementations” accounted for just 3% of the tablet market.

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