Android OS to make gains in 2011 tablet PC market

Global tablet shipments to reach 150 million per year by 2015: Ovum

Analysts firms are predicting that Android will make serious gains in the mobile device operating system market this year.

According to Ovum, shipments of tablets with "lite" operating systems, including Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, are expected to increase, with Ovum predicting that shipments will reach 150 million per year globally by 2015.

The new forecast says that 35 per cent of the shipments will be in the Asia-Pacific region; an increase of 20 per cent from 2010 figures.

Ovum analyst, Tony Cripps, said while the growth in shipments will come predominately from sales of the iPad, both Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems will feature heavily over the next five years of sales.

“This huge growth in shipments will be dominated by tablet-style technologies such as the iPad and will mainly be driven by consumers buying devices to complement their smartphones,” Cripps said in a statement.

“…Ovum’s figures also suggest that by the end of the forecast period, Google’s operating systems, primarily Android but also likely to include Chrome OS, will dominate the market, pushing current frontrunner Apple’s iOS into second place.”

While the tablet market is expected to boom, Cripps said the use of smartphones will not decrease as a result.

“The greater ease of use of smartphones for the majority of consumers means that shipments of the tablet and other ‘lite’ OS devices will not dramatically erode the growing demand for smartphones,” he said. “This is especially pertinent given their obvious similarity in hardware and software technology.”

Independent telecoms research company, Telsyte, is more bullish arguing that while Apple will maintain market leadership this year, the fastest growing platform will still be Android.

“Android is growing as a distributive force against Apple,” Telsyte research director, Foad Fadaghi, said in a statement. “The quality of the platform is improving and gaining significant traction in the developer community.”

According to Fadaghi, the Android platform will also bolstered by the variety of applications appearing in its Marketplace.

”Many of the same applications available in the Apple AppStore are starting to appear in the Android Marketplace often significantly cheaper or free of charge,” Fadaghi said.

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