CSS Tablet Forecasts

cssinsight.pngCSS Insight have some interesting forecasts for tablet shipments. They claim that tablet sales will double over the next four years as more first-time users appear and existing owners replace older models.

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They also say Windows will claim a larger market share. I think this might even happen. People in our ‘IT world’, most of which now use Macs and Macbooks,  under-estimate the reach of Windows. However, in the ‘real world’ many people still use PCs. Take a look at NetMarketShare browser stats that cover 40,000 sites across the world. A very large number of people are still using Windows.

Allied to this are Microsoft’s new strategies. They already give away Windows free to OEMs on low end devices. They have also promised to upgrade Windows 7/8 free of charge when Windows 10 ships. The start menu will also make a comeback. In the longer term, these changes might help consolidate and retain existing users onto Windows 10 and sell more tablets. However, I still believe Windows on phones is probably a lost cause.

29% of Android is Forked (AOSP) Android

abiresearch.gifIt seems to be research release season and ABI has also reported numbers for smartphone shipments. However, this time we have a breakdown of what proportion of Android is forked (AOSP). That is, Android devices that aren’t sanctioned by Google, haven’t passed compatibility testing and don’t have Google Apps and Google Play Services (at least not legally anyway). 

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ABI’s prediction that AOSP growth, relative to non-AOSP, would decline has come to fruition. Assuming the lower shipment numbers it has stabilised (-1% change month on month) at about 29% of all Android devices.

Android shipments are now decreasing month on month mainly due to Apple’s brilliant 90% growth. 

UPDATE: Changed value from 41% to 29% as the first row in the table, despite its generic naming ‘Android’, doesn’t include the second.

Tablet Shipment Growth Slowed

gartner136.gifGartner has some new research and forecasts for tablet (and PC) shipments. The initial growth in tablet sales has slowed considerably.

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Despite this, tablet shipments are still growing and tablet shipments are now of the similar order as desktops. The above table shows that Android tablets might see a larger share of the growth in the coming years.

IDC Smartphone Predictions for 2018

idc.gifIDC has new research into Smartphone shipments and predictions for 2018. 1.3 billion smartphones will ship this year representing an increase of 26.3% compared to 2013. However, this growth is set to decline to about 9.8% compound annual growth between 2014 and 2018. The respective Android and iOS market shares are expected to stay at about the same order of magnitude over this period.

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If IDC are right, this means we will be entering a relatively stable period for mobile developers with no major differences in market share likely to cause developers to switch between platforms.

Generally speaking, if you are selling something then iOS will continue to be your most important platform as it’s a self-selecting group of users who have higher disposable income. If you are providing a service and need reach, then Android is your most important platform as it represents 82.3% of devices in use. However, my usual advice applies – survey your intended users and see what devices they own. Depending on your industry, you might be surprised.

Android White Box Tablets

strategyanalystics.gifStrategy Analytics has new Q3 2014 research on World tablet shipments. Android reached an all-time high of 72% of the market while iOS declined 13% to 22.3% market share.

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29.9% of Android’s 72% market share is "white box" manufacturers. A white box tablet is produced by a company (the manufacturer or ODM) that other companies (the vendors or OEMs) re-brand to make it appear as if they made them. These are a big threat to the well-known brands and are increasing being sold by retailers under their own made-up brand names. Many work very well and I have even used some as a basis for client, vertical single-use ‘kiosk’ style products. The down side is that the OS rarely, if ever, gets updated and for developers there’s usually a lack of Android adb drivers.

Shift in Smartphone Market Shares

idc.gifIDC have a new press release showing smartphone vendor shipments for Q3 2014. Samsung lost market share at the expense of Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG. Apple’s market share dropped slightly by 0.9% to 12% meaning shipments of units grew by 16.1% vs 25.2% for all smartphones.

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What does this mean for developers? For Android developers it’s going to be increasingly the case that testing mainly on Samsung devices won’t get you the majority of the devices being used. With iOS now having only 12% market share, there’s going to be continuing intolerance by end users of some companies that still only provide an app for iOS.

Android Growth

idc.gifIDC has a great chart and table that shows how Android smartphone shipments have increased over time. You can also see how iOS shipments oscillate as new devices become available…

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Will Android continue to increase in market share? At the moment the only threat is that Chinese OEMs are outpacing the market coupled with the news that China is developing its own desktop and mobile OS. As a result, the growth of China-supplied Android devices for use in China might subside sooner than expected.

IDC Q2/2014 Smartphone Shipments

idc.gifIDC have details on smartphone shipments for Q2 2014. Android and iOS now account for 96% of the market. Total shipments were more than 300 million in Q2.

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Windows Phone and Blackberry are just about dead. iOS market share is starting to become worryingly smaller. However, most of Android’s growth is in developing countries. Having said this, only yesterday, on my trip up to London, I observed that so many people had Samsung phones. Only a short time ago everyone seemed to have iPhones. Things are changing.

Android really is getting huge. Cue European anti-trust investigations.