Android tablets: Weaker sales than expected


Apple will take an even stronger slice of Australia’s fast-growing tablet market than previously expected, one of the nation’s major technology analyst firms said today, with Android vendors slow to bring their devices to market and not having different enough features to take much away from the iPad 2.

Analyst firm Telsyte was last year forecasting that Apple’s iPad would have only 60 percent market share in Australia’s tablet market in 2011, down from 2010, in which the company was estimated to have nabbed 90 percent of the market up-front, with its flagship iPad device having virtually no competition. However, Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi today said his company had revised that figure up to 71 percent for 2011.

“A lot of Android vendors have yet to bring their devices to market,” he said, noting many had been delayed until the second half of 2011. Hyped tablets such as Motorola’s Xoom, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1v and Research in Motion’s non-Android BlackBerry PlayBook have only just launched in Australia, while others such as HP’s TouchPad (with its own Linux-based OS) have yet to reach Australian shores — and are not slated to do so until 18 months after the iPad first launched here.

Secondly, Fadaghi noted that the early arrival of the iPad 2 earlier this year — even before most of the competitors had even launched their first model in Australia — meant the rival vendors’ hardware was comparable to Apple’s offering — featuring similar cameras, for example.

In addition, Telsyte believes Google’s Android platform used by companies like Motorola, Samsung and Toshiba will be behind the iPad for at least the next 12 months when it comes to the applications available for it.

To compete with the iPad, the analyst firm believes those using the Android platform on tablets will need to reduce their prices — which are generally comparable to those of the iPad at the moment. Some early Android tablets, such as Samsung’s 7″ Galaxy Tab, have already seen rapid price cuts in the range of $700 or more just months after they launched, due to the rapidly changing market.

And as for Microsoft?

“Although expected to make a big splash when launched, Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet is not expected until 2012. For some of Microsoft’s partners it comes a little too late as most have already adopted Google’s Android platform,” the analyst firm said.

In general, in 2011 Telsyte estimates almost 1.2 million tablets will ship in Australia in 2011 — making Apple’s share some 852,000 units. That number is almost triple the 400,000-odd tablets that sold in Australia in 2010.

Some of the tablets, typically those with 3G connectivity enabled, have gone on sale through mobile carriers like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, with plans attached. However, Telsyte said it believed this approach, where telcos had marketed the tablets as being similar to smartphones, had not been successful.

“Telsyte believes consumers prefer a shared cap between smartphones and tablets, rather than standalone tablet plans,” the company said. Currently the majority of users on 3G-enabled tablets prefer to connect via pre-paid SIMs when outside of a WiFi zone. Telsyte believes a shared cap approach for carriers will encourage loyalty and allow for the effective up selling of data services.”

The analyst firm has published a comprehensive report on Australia’s tablet sector, which is available through the company’s site for a fee.

Image credit: Acer


  1. I don’t find this overly unexpected. I do actually think the tablet market is saturated at the moment – (tablet overdose?) – and when faced with a choice between an iPad and any one of eleventy billion Android-based based models, people get confused and default to the iPad.

    Whether or not that’s the correct “default” behaviour or not is another question.

    • I don’t think the tablet market is oversatured by any measure. We have one flagship device in ONE (count them, ONE) form factor, a bunch of similarly priced or more expensive, but less full-featured imitators running Android (and they are generally heavier) in exactly the same form factor (10″) and a couple of alternatives, namely the 7″ Galaxy Tab and the 7″ PlayBook.

      There is room for about 100 more models than this, in every shape, size and colour. Personally I want a cheap 7″ tablet with 3G that is light, does web browsing and video on the road, and is great at reading newspapers and eBooks. I don’t want to pay more than about $250 for it, either. And I don’t want a resistive touch screen.

          • The average schmo is going for the best phone they can get, eg SGS2

            Or the cheapest smartphone they can get, like the Wildfire.

            With tablets though people are most likely going for what is popular which is the iPad currently.

            Same sorta thing happened when Android phones started rolling out, only the nerds/geeks were getting them and only after a while did the phones become more mainstream.

          • > The Android tablets have a couple of iterations to go before they catch up with the iPad, IMHO.

            Fair comment, Renai, but then Apple isn’t exactly going to be standing still while they do their catching up.

            The iPhone was launched into a mature market for general phones, and a semi-mature market for smart phones.

            The iPad is its own beast, and Apple had years of development ahead of everyone else before bringing it to market. It’s very hard for the other players to catch up with that and compete – you have those who have rushed to market, and have a half-baked product; and then those like Microsoft who want to have a more polished product, but are still a year off launching.

            There are things that irritate me about the iPad, alongside things it does very well, but it really has the market to itself for a while yet.

        • Yeah but these things are just over sized phones really and not a true Android Tablet

          • I dunno … personally I am not that huge a fan of Honeycomb. If you look at what Apple did, they didn’t change the user interface paradigm for the iPad, and I think that was a wise move.

          • Yes, but people are paying for the iPad, therefore it’s not only a price problem. The Android tablets are just inferior clones so far, so they have no choice but to compete on the basis of price. However, as HTC and Samsung have done in smartphones, if they accelerate past Apple in other technical areas, people will still pay more for them.

          • It’s a price problem compared to the ipad (Jen-Hsun Huang was careful not to mention it).

            I have no problem them charging more in the future. But they need to drop prices and features now (because of their inferiority) to get traction.

    • Yeah, I’m sorry about that … but I don’t have an easy way to insert ads into Delimiter’s RSS feed for now, so I can’t monetise that distribution medium until I tinker with it a little more.

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