Strategy Analytics have published new research for global tablet shipments in Q1 2014. Total shipments reached 57.6 million devices with Android taking 66 percent share and Apple 28 percent.
[If you are wondering, the black cell should read 19.5 – not sure why it’s black on the Strategy Analytics site]
What’s more interesting than the Android/iOS shares is the fact that year on year growth has slowed from 83% to 19%. Extrapolating up the shipments for 2014 gives an order of magnitude of 200 million devices. Maybe tablet sales are plateauing at around the same order of magnitude as PC sales
? In this case, tablets will never achieve anywhere near the number of shipments that smartphones (about 10x as much) have achieved.
I am increasingly seeing demand for apps that will be the only app running on a particular device. This is interesting because it takes Android to new markets and vertical uses. In my case my clients are re-purposing Android tablets for use in hospitality, high end camera phones for use in medical diagnosis and settop boxes to create new consumer devices.
I am also seeing colleagues and developers such as myself start to buy inexpensive Android hardware and use for a single purpose. For example, I have a client who uses small Android tablets as clocks in all his rooms. I know some people use old phones as web cams. Tablets can also be used as single-use permanent photo frames, used as home media controllers (with Chromecast) and single use media storage devices.
However the commercial opportunities are much larger. Think about single use apps that might run on AllInOnes, inexpensive single board computers and rugged devices.
Android makes a great general purpose ‘single-use’ operating system because you can install an apk on any device entirely without Google’s intervention, the APIs are very deep allowing you to do almost everything you would want and devices (especially last year’s devices) are relatively inexpensive.
However, innovation should start with an idea or problem rather than focussing on the solution. Think about an industry you know a lot about and ask what are the current problems. Could they be solved using a single-use solution?
Gartner’s latest tablet sales numbers show that Android tablets sales exceeded iOS tablet sales for the first time in 2013. Android now has a 61.9% market share while iOS market share has decreased from 52.8% to 36%.
As with smartphones, Gartner says smaller low-cost (7") tablets are driving growth. Apple say they won’t go this small because this small size doesn’t make for a good product.