Tablet Sales: It's An Android World

Still wondering if it's worth developing apps for Android tablets? According to new figures from Gartner, over 60 per cent of new tablet sales in 2013 were Android devices.

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Here are the figures for 2013 and 2012:

OS 2013 Sales 2013 Market Share 2012 Sales 2012 Market Share
Android 120,961,445 61.9% 53,341,250 45.8%
iOS 70,400,159 36.0% 61,465,632 52.8%
Microsoft 4,031,802 2.1% 1,162,435 1.0%
Others 41,598 <0.1% 379,000 0.3%
Total 195,435,004 100.0% 116,348,317 100.0%

Those numbers are good news for Samsung (the dominant Android player, with 19.1 per cent of the total tablet market) and for Apple (which remains the single biggest-selling tablet vendor with 36 per cent market share). Microsoft still needs to work harder to persuade consumers to purchase Windows-based tablets.

Despite Android's volume, many developers continue to favour iOS, and the iPad in particular. In January, Apple said that roughly half of the one million iOS apps on offer were iPad-specific. While there's frequent debate over which platform provides better revenue opportunities for developers, the harsh truth is that the vast majority of app downloads are free, not paid.



    In many ways, I think you've answered your own question - if the majority of app downloads are free, then developers are going to want to target consumers who spend on in-app purchases, which are less likely to be Android users:

    "In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

    Also, when you look at the by-manufacurer breakdown, Apple's 36% is almost double it's nearest competitor, Samsung, and next is Asus with 5.6%.

    The other interesting thing for me was that Microsoft isn't as far off the pace as they might look with that 2.1% share. When you look at the manufacturer figures, Microsoft's 4 million devices in 2013 is comparable with the other, non-Apple players like Lenovo and Amazon. Not as good, but not out of the race.

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