There are quite a few sales stats floating around for the tablet market. A recent report from IDC gives us two important checkpoints that, when considered with other stats, point towards a popular 7” Android tablet market that could be purely dependent on sales unless Honeycomb ramps up quickly.
Firstly though, take a look at these exciting numbers from IDC.
- Q1 2011 tablet sales were 7.2 million worldwide
- Forecast for 2011 sales: 53.5 million
- Android tablet sales now 34% of the total
Why are they exciting? These numbers are big enough to build quality software development projects on. I mean serious software development. Word processing. Audio editing. Photo editing and other applications that are generally rather ‘light’ on the ARM-based tablet platforms.
Clearly IOS is moving forward at a fantastic pace and we’re seeing productive software advance very quickly but there’s something in the Android figures that might be worth considering.
If about 350,000 Google experience Android devices were activated on average per day through the period (source) and Honeycomb runs at 1% of all Android versions (source), it means we can derive the following:
- Android tablet sales in Q1: 2.45 million
- Total Android activations in Q1: 31.5million
- Assuming all sales will be activated, Android tablets account for about 8% of Android device activations
- Honeycomb tablets in the market = 1% of 31.5 million = 315,000. This could rise fast due to sales/activation lag.
- Non-Honeycomb tablets in Q1: 2.135 Million (88% of all Android Tablets activated in Q1)
Yes, there’s potential for error in those figures as you can’t compare sales with activations for the same period but the important think here is that Android 2.x is most popular on tablets at the moment. When you think carefully about that, you’re effectively saying that the 7” tablets are taking the lions share. With the Galaxy Tab sales figures indicating a possible 500,000 sales per month, you have to wonder just how much of those Android tablet sales are just Galaxy Tab sales. Probably most of them. The Android Tablet market lived because of the Galaxy Tab 7.
It could be the form factor. Many, many people have commented on the portability. It could be the availability. The Galaxy tab has an incredible global distribution. It could be the price. At 350 Euros here, it’s a bargain and way cheaper than the larger, Honeycomb products. Quality is also going to be a factor. There aren’t many bad reviews of the Galaxy Tab out there.
What does that tell us for Q2-Q4?
The Galaxy Tab had good early reviews which is important for setting up great search results for subsequent sales of a product. Global carrier and shelf distribution is important. Price helps a lot. It also means there are few players that can achieve the same figures. Any Honeycomb device will suffer from the lack of tailored apps. Pricing needs to drop quickly. Only global players have a chance. Given the age of the Galaxy Tab and the momentum Samsung have, they look set to dominate again if they bring out a new Galaxy Tab 7”
10”, Honeycomb devices are in a pickle. Early reviews weren’t fantastic and the numbers of sales are low too which means developers won’t be interested in investing time and money into apps. If Samsung don’t update the Galaxy Tab, will overall Android tablet sales suffer unless another global player comes along with a killer product or will combined sales of new products start to ramp up numbers to solve the applications problem? Or will I write a similar article about Amazon this time next year?