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Apple to dominate tablet biz through 2015

Tough time ahead for WebOS, BlackBerry

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Apple's iOS may be forecast to lose smartphone market share even to Microsoft's Windows Phone, but it will remain the leader in the media tablet arena through to 2016.

So suggests research house Gartner, which puts iOS' share of the 2015 294.1m-unit market at 47.1 per cent.

That's an inevitable significant reduction on Apple's 2010 market share of 83.9 per cent, but what will more than compensate the company for this loss is the gain in unit shipments. In 2015, Apple will ship 9.4 times as many iPads - 138.5m to 14.8m - as it did in 2010.

Apple's 2011 market share: 68.7 per cent, says Gartner.

No surprises for guessing that Android will be iOS' key rival, taking 38.6 per cent of the tablet in 2015, according to Gartner. It'll take 19.9 per cent this year.

The problem for tablet makers will be making their Android tablets stand out from everyone else's Android tablets. If they're not careful, punters' brand loyalty will be to the OS not the manufacturer. Yet the greater control Google is taking over vendors' implementations of Android 3.0 Honeycomb means it will be hard to use price as a differentiator, Gartner said.

Yet third-placed QNX, due for a big boost now that RIM is using it as the basis for the BlackBerry PlayBook, will only have taken ten per cent of the tablet market by 2015. Too few developers, and lack of compatibility between PlayBook and all the BlackBerry smartphones currently out there, will hinder the tablet's success, Gartner said.

HP's acquired-with-Palm WebOS will have just three per cent of the market that year, down from a peak of four per cent in 2011, the researcher reckons. Its appeal will remain limited until HP figures out how to sell a lot more Palm smartphones.

All the other tablet OSes will amount to 1.2 per cent of the market, down from 1.7 per cent in 2011 and 2012. ®

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