106 Comments

Summary:

More than one in four tablets last quarter ran on the Google Android platform says Strategy Analytics, dropping Apple’s iPad market share to two-thirds of all tablets. But the data is based on shipped tablets, not sold, and includes Android 2.x devices, plus an e-reader.

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Android tablets are quickly eating into Apple’s iPad leading market share with 26.9 percent of shipped tablets in the third quarter running Google’s mobile operating system. A Strategy Analytics report published on Friday comes to that conclusion, suggesting that 4.5 million Android tablets shipped last quarter use Android, while 11.1 million are powered by Apple’s iOS platform. The overall tablet market is up 280 percent from a year ago, showing no signs of a slowdown anytime soon, notes Fierce Wireless, which is where I found the report.

Reports such as this are a win for the Android camp, and while I respect the work done by Strategy Analytics, I’m not sure the report is that meaningful; a few aspects of these comparisons leave them open to considerable interpretation.

First is the definition of market share with respect to tablets sold vs tablets shipped. Apple’s figures are tablets sold, which don’t include tablets sitting on store shelves, tablets en route to stores or tablets sitting in a warehouse. By comparison, Android’s figures are the shipped number of tablets, so any devices sitting on a store shelf actually count, and they shouldn’t for market share purposes.

Next is the question of “what is an Android tablet?” It sounds like a simple question to answer, but it’s not. Why? The first Android tablets, going as far back to the middle of 2010, ran on Android 2.x, or Google’s smartphone platform. It wasn’t until February of 2011 that the first Android 3.0, or Honeycomb, tablet arrived. So are the small 7-inch tablets running the smartphone OS counted in the numbers? And what about the popular Barnes & Noble Nook Color, which can be easily modified to be a full-fledged Android tablet?

I asked Strategy Analytics to clarify both of those points and received the following email response from Neil Mawston, the analyst who wrote the report: “Yes, the press release refers to shipments, not sales. All sub-versions of Android are included. Yes, the B&N Nook Color tablet is included in the tablet figures.”

While that clarifies the definitions used for the analysis, it also muddies the waters for actual market share of Android tablets in use by version. Another way to measure the number of Android tablets is one I started to use back in July. Google provides bi-weekly figures to developers that show a version breakdown of devices accessing the Android Market over the prior two weeks.

If you know the total number of Android devices in the market, you can use the percentage data to get a reasonable estimate of how many Android 3.x devices are actively being used. Earlier this week, Andy Rubin said 190 million Android devices have been activated. Google’s dashboard currently shows 1.8 percent of devices hitting the Market run Android 3.0 or better. That works out to 3.42 million Android Honeycomb tablets.

The figure isn’t that far off from the 4.5 million shipped Android tablets that Strategy Analytics reports for the last quarter. Ideally, we’d need to see a quarterly figure of new Android activations to further refine this method. Activated devices are sold, not just shipped, so it provides a better measure of actual sales, and therefore, market share.

Assuming that Android tablet sales are dramatically rising, I’m not sure I understand why. What has changed from the prior quarter for these devices? Not much, aside from a few minor platform updates to address a tablet OS that was rushed to market. Aside from some price drops, I don’t see why consumers would suddenly be purchasing Android tablets. That doesn’t mean I think the iPad is the best tablet for everyone; I’m simply trying to understand the market share numbers.

Regardless of the Strategy Analytics report, perhaps the best indicator of which tablets are actually selling is to see what people are using. I’ve taken four cross-country trips in the past month and I’ve also been out and about in my local area. In all of my travels, I always pay attention to which mobile devices are being used. I saw iPads, smartphones and laptops, but aside from my own 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab, not one single Android tablet. Maybe I’m just travelling with the wrong crowd?

  1. Erik Schwartz Friday, October 21, 2011

    Of course it’s bogus.

    But everyone does it. For years Apple reported the cumulative number of iPods sold even though a huge percentage were replacements or upgrades.

    How many original 2G iPhones do you see these days?

    Why are you trying to do market research with PR statements?

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    1. yeah, I always love hearing apple go on about numbers. . . we’ve sold 250 million iOS devices. . . and they try and make it sound like that’s either recent or active. The reality, sure they’ve sold that many but to only what, 50 million people? And there’s their problem. They aren’t expanding their user base nearly as fast as Android–they seem forever in need of current user upgrades. What happens when users skip a generation or two?

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      1. You are correct that Android is growing much faster than iOS, but in terms of the number of devices sold vs. the number in use, I think you’re wrong.

        I only have anecdotal evidence, so I could be wrong myself.

        When I bought my iPhone 4, I gave my 3G to my girlfriend, she still uses it.

        When my brother bought the 4S, he donated the old one to a charity which has issued it to a volunteer.

        It is likely that most of the original iPhones are no longer in use, but I’m pretty certain that the vast majority of iOS devices are still being used.

        The iPod touch is the only iPod that counts as an iOS device. I can’t imagine anyone just throwing it out because they got a new one. The first generation is still quite useful.

        The number of app downloads would seem to bear me out, but I have no hard evidence.

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      2. “The reality, sure they’ve sold that many but to only what, 50 million people?”

        Ummm… in the sauce for the goose category….

        But Android has been out three years now. How many people have likewise upgraded their Android phones, and displaced old ones?

        Then again, there was the recent study that indicated that just 47 percent of Android users plan to purchase another Android phone.

        And there’s the problem. Half the people who buy Android aren’t sticking around… (grin)

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      3. Hamranhansenhansen Saturday, October 22, 2011

        So hundreds of companies put together have shipped 190 million Android devices while one company all by itself has shipped over 250 million iOS devices, and you say that is a problem for that one company? No. It is a problem for the hundreds of companies who even collectively cannot beat Apple’s sales.

        Further, since iOS is updated regularly and immediately from a central source, there is less incentive to upgrade hardware. I have a 28 month old iPhone 3GS here that is running iOS 5 right now, which just came out, and it has run about 15 different versions of iOS since I bought it, including 3 major version upgrades. If I had bought an Android device 28 months ago, I would have hit a wall a long time ago and been incentivized to get new hardware.

        iOS devices double their sales every single year. Apple’s only problem is how to meet that demand. That is it. They have no other problems.

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      4. awh. . . look at how easily the apple fans get their feathers all ruffled up.

        All we know is that Android activations are significantly increasing everyday as is the Android market share–apples is remaining very flat. I know, reality sucks and you all want apple to rule the world so you can worship your lord and savior and have apple tell you what to do every second of every day because thinking is just too difficult. . . I know, it can hurt at times.

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      5. Apple has “sold 250 million iOS devices … to only what, 50 million people?”

        So the average iPhone is held in the hands of somebody who, in the last 4 years, has bought 4 others and dumped them into their desk drawer?

        Unlocked first gen iPhones are going for just shy of $100 on eBay. I doubt those sales are from one collector of old iPhones to another. I think that you totally pulled that 50 million figure from your backside. Got a cite?

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      6. As a happy android user, I totally believe that the android user base is growing, especially with this new generation of phones that will be running Ice Cream Sandwich. But the thing is, in the tablet space it looks to me like the iPad is really dominating, like 95 to 5% or something, so I think what Tofel is saying is really interesting, because reality is what I’m more interested in. I just don’t know how android companies are convinced they have any tablet user base in comparison.

        Anyways, cool stuff. What I really wanted to say is that I think you, AppleFUD, make all us android users look like total blowhards who are generally jerks on forums and hate anything apple. Maybe you’re proud of that, but there’s nothing cool about being a dick.

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      7. You are kidding, right? Are you really going to pretend that the fact that Apple has sold multiple iPods to single individuals is the same as a report claiming tablets sitting on shelves is the same as tablets actually sold?

        No cookie.

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      8. There are 225 million iTunes accounts with credit cards. How confident are you that there are only 50 million people with iOS devices?

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      9. I think they make it sound like what it is–cumulative units sold.

        By the way, I have–and still actively use–my first generation 2007 vintage iPod touch. I am not unusual in that respect…

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      10. It’s easy to see that you’re wrong. Sales of the iPhone have increased dramatically with each new generation, so those sales are mostly to people who have not owned an iPhone before.

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      11. “They aren’t expanding their user base nearly as fast as Android”

        And on Android most users are not using it like it’s a smartphone. it’s just the cheapest iPhone lookalike people can get their hands on.

        There are much more TV with yahoo widgets than Google TV too, why don’t you count that.

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      12. Michael Tomlin Monday, October 24, 2011

        @ AppleFUD

        Most of the iOS devices sold have done so within the past two years, which means they are probably still in use. of the 250 million devices quoted, about 30-35 million were sold in the first two and half years (until the release of the iPhone 3GS). In the past year the iPhone 4 alone has sold some 70 million devices.

        Yes, Android’s “user” base is currently growing faster, but “user base” is used as a gauge to determine if a platform is viable. However more importantly than just raw numbers of users, is what those users are doing with the devices… And when it comes to Android, most of them are not using it for anything other than a phone. To these people it is just a phone and not a platform. This is evident in the lack of app sales, web usage and advertising hits. If there is no market, developers and content providers will go where there is one. Why do you think Amazon has created their own tablet with their own version of Android? Because in general Android “users” aren’t buying Amazon’s content.

        The point Apple was trying to make is that it took the massively popular iPod 10 years to reach 300 million units sold, it only took iOS devices (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad) a little over four years to reach 250 million and the fact of the matter is, most of those devices were sold in the past two years.

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    2. Uhm, “sold” is a real number. How are they to determine how many were replacements or upgrades? And, if it’s a replacement, what happens to the old device. As you probably suspect, many get handed down, etc. If you were a company, what number would you think is the most reliable to report?

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    3. You’re right–everyone reports cumulative units. But only Google and its partners compound the fantasy by also reporting units shipped rather than units sold.

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    4. I know many people still using the first gen iPhone.

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      1. Jason Lancaster Monday, October 24, 2011

        I do :P although I am looking at getting a 4S or 5. But I do want to point out that I would upgrade to get neat features not because it broke or is a crappy phone.

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  2. Om

    What are your thoughts on the use case for the Android? I think you were the one that brought this up on Leo’s show last week.

    I use my iPad ALL THE TIME, and the apps just keep coming that allow me to use the device in many ways that are allowing me to substitute it for my laptop! I now have a smaller bag and my “laptop elbow” is now going away…!

    Next, I am not an Apple kook aid drinker, I am an IT manager and have been using Microsoft / Windows products for many years, but you just can’t deny the ease of use and functionality of the mobile device, specifically the ipad.

    I am wondering if that’s true for Android users. Or do they buy the device and then put it on the shelf. Mobile is definitely so much more convenient and the instant on is killer, but I just wonder if the form / function factor is really the same on the android and the iPad.

    Your thoughts

    Rick

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    1. as an android tablet user (also in IT) I use my tablet everyday (about 2-3 hrs/day commuting) and have stopped lugging around notebook. The functionality is there on the android. (i even use the older 7″ tab (not honeycomb) becuase I like the smaller form factor for daily use.

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    2. “Or do they buy the device and then put it on the shelf.”

      It seems 1/3 of them are already on the shelves at wherever they are sold. The majority of the rest have found a home thanks to very deep discounts.

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    3. Hi Rick,

      My Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is definitely NOT sitting on a shelf. I use it for most of my daily computing tasks. I am a middle school teacher & photographer, and I am currently writing software for both for use on my tablet. I’ve written Windows software in the past.

      IMHO what Apple really has going for it is control over the form factor. There seems to be WAY more 3rd party hardware accessories for iPod, iPhone, iPad than Android. Part of that is why I run away from Apple Kool-Aid like poison. They are too controlling for my taste.

      Just how is the iPad more functional or easier to use than my Galaxy Tab?

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      1. So you run away from Apple products because there are way more 3rd party accessories for them? Uh, okay…

        Regarding, the ways in which the iPad is more functional and easier to use than your Tab, I can think of a few:
        - over 100,000 native apps for the iPad vs. 1,000 (?) for your Android tablet (functionality)
        - a huge selection of 3rd party *functional* accessories (vs. almost none for your Android tablet)
        - a 4:3 screen aspect ratio, providing much better usable screen area in all orientations (vs. your Android tablet’s widescreen aspect ratio)
        - the iPad’s Smart Cover for instant *automatic* on/off
        - the iPad’s consistently smooth 1:1 user interaction (vs. your Android tablet’s frequently balky, hesitant user interaction)
        - AirPlay for cable-free instant transfer of video and audio to your TV/home theater
        - AirPrint for built-in printing to dozens of different printer models
        - FaceTime for instant one-button video calling

        That should be enough to get you started, Rick. Apple’s “controlling” ways don’t seem so bad anymore, do they?

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  3. i know people with all kinds of tablets. a good share of ipad and kindle owners carry them around. the people i know with android tablets tends to use them only at home.

    i am not sure why this is.

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    1. interesting. . .
      the people I know with ipads use them as baby sitting devices mainly. . .

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      1. The people I know with iPads don’t have babies and are airline pilots, medical professionals, or executives mainly…

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      2. You hang out with losers, apparently. Not that I’m terribly surprised.

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    2. John Harrington, Jr. Monday, October 31, 2011

      Learn the distinctions between the top tablets on the market–witness the beatdown on November 15th and possibly win a free iPad 2 or Kindle Fire: http://bit.ly/vzTZK9

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  4. I have an iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1. I find that the iPad is better for games and the Tab is better for things I do, like stock charting, which requires Flash about everywhere, and all of Google’s services. Also, Verizon’s 4G on the Tab beats the pants off my iPad 2, which can also connect to Verizon’s 3G. I think that as processing power increases, Android has a shot of gaining significant market share because the OS is designed to take advantage of it in a much broader way compared with iOS.

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    1. That’s funny because it seems like the entire web has been optimized for the iPhone/iPad that makes flash irrelevant. The customized apps I found work out way better than running them on my Android devices via flash. I think until Google polishes it’s OS more people are going to be sick of how buggy Android is and iOS will continue to grow.

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      1. I am always reading about the buggy Android. My Galaxy S2 never crash. It’s really fast playing Gameloft HD most greedy games. It was rebooted only to root the phone and update rom. I never turn it off. It is full customized and optimized and shitware free. It’s the only eletronic thing I have that never fails. My laptop freezes using ubuntu, windows and hackintosh iOS. My bluray player is buggy, my laptop is buggy, my kindle is buggy, my wacom intuos pen tablet is buggy… I am really luck to have a bug free android device while everyone is using buggy android devices. Thanks Samsung to make my device an out-of-standards mistake.

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      2. I wish.

        I’ve had such bad experiences with Flash that I’ve taken it out of my Mac’s plugin folder. For my flights I often have dozens of open web pages to read and can’t tolerate the crashes that Adobe favors me with. So I run Chrome exclusively for Flash sites; it means I can tolerate a crash much better. And yes, Chrome has crashed on me a couple of times, likely thanks to Flash since almost every page I open with Flash has it.

        But yes, many pages, including my 401k statements, require Flash for the most elementary stuff that HTML would suffice. Guess they cater to old fogeys with XP-class machines that can’t handle newer IE.

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    2. Hamranhansenhansen Saturday, October 22, 2011

      You have it backwards with regards to who has the advantage as processing power increases. Clearly, that is Apple. They are a PC maker. As mobiles get bigger, they get more like PC’s. Therefore mobile software has to grow into PC software.

      iPhone and iPad are already running PC software. iOS is just OS X from the Mac with a touch interface and apps put on. The same OS X core from iPad is running right now on 8-core XEON workstations. Apple has no problem scaling up. The trick for them was to scale down to a 2007 phone. Part of the reason they didn’t do a phone earlier was they could not have scaled down OS X onto earlier smartphones.

      Everyone else in mobile has the opposite problem: how to scale up their tiny phone systems to run on devices that are more like PC’s. This is so hard to do that even Microsoft gave up after Windows Phone 7 and now they are working on shrinking NT down in Windows 8 so that it can fit on mobile hardware. Android has over 10 years of display subsystem work to do, it does not even create its user interface in the GPU like OS X has been doing since the turn of the century and NT has been doing since 2007.

      So Android is already failing to scale to the larger phones. The reason the Android tablet PC’s have failed is they are not PC’s. They are just giant phones.

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    3. Actually, android has always been facing performance issue. Scrolling will always be choppy at times – thanks to gc pauses and software not optimized enough.
      Basically, android requires more processing power than ios or windows do, by design, thanks to the vm.
      I actually never undertood google’s choice, regarding its sdk. Linux? Yeah, makes perfect sense.
      Java? Seriously? The worst language ever for UI, combined with a VM known for its long startup time, for apps that are 90% UI and used on average less than 5 minutes? What the hell were they smoking?

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  5. “What’s changed from the prior quarter for these devices?”
    I think the biggest thing is the number of Android devices out there now. I personally waited out for the Toshiba Thrive, as I liked having full USB and HDMI ports plus replaceable battery. I’ve heard others waiting for other models mainly the Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. Different people like different brands and different models fill particular niches like Sony’s upcoming Tablet P.

    That said, as someone who regularly uses my Android tablet, the amount of software available that is optimized for tablets continues to expand. From small apps to big ones like Netflix that was recently added to all Android tablets.

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  6. I’ve seen several Android tablets around my college campus. My friend likes his because it can access Cramster, which uses Flash.

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    1. I have one Android tablet in the wild. Everything else has been iPads.

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    2. Cramster has an iPad app.

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  7. Or you could quote the “over 6 million Android Honeycomb tablets activated” that Andy Rubin gave at AllThingsD this weekend

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    1. He didn’t say that, that’s why:

      “6:52 pm: “How come Android tablets have completely flopped in the marketplace?”

      “I wouldn’t say completely flopped,” Rubin said.

      Rubin said there are a little more than six million Android tablets out there running Google’s services, not counting other tablets (such as Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color)

      “Six million is pretty healthy, but it is not 30 million,” he said. “Obviously, we need to get there.””

      http://allthingsd.com/20111019/andy-rubin-asiad/

      This is clearly any and all Android tablets with Google services, not Honeycomb tablets specifically.

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    2. Seth, as Tim pointed out, Rubin didn’t say “Honeycomb” tablets. He said tablets that run Google services, which as I pointed out in my post would include the Android 2.x tablets. It would even count the Nook Color devices that were hacked to run native Android in Rubin’s definition. ;)

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    3. Nice try, Seth. Isn’t this supposed to be your job? You know, paying attention to tech?

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  8. People buy Android tablet because they like functionality of their Android phones, growing availability. Despite Apple’s noise Android gaining visibility. My three iPhones collecting dust after I put my hands on Android phone and got freedom from the prescribed “experience”. I don’t need to carry my Android tablet every time because my phone has a large screen and full functionality of the tablet. Although people say larger is better.

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    1. “My three iPhones collecting dust…”

      Okay. I’ll bite, ’cause one of three things is going on here. You actually have three $500 devices sitting a drawer collecting dust… which seems a bit… stupid.

      Or you’re saying you do. Or you sold them, in which case they’re in use somewhere.

      So… three, not one, not two, but three iPhones in a drawer, collecting dust?

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      1. Give him a break. Anybody who says he bought the wrong product 3X in a row can’t be assumed to be playing with a full deck.

        Either that, or he’s not being 100% accurate with what he claims, in which case he doesn’t deserve the break.

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      2. That is the strangest comment I have ever seen… Why could he not have bought the iPhones 1, 2, and 3 after the hype? I know personally I could never resell any phone I had bought because I treat my gear pretty rough (that being said, my iPhone 3GS has survived being carried away by a torrent of water and dropped all the time). So when I get a new phone (definately not another apple), my old 3GS will be sitting in a drawer gathering dust, so that I have a spare incase I lose my phone, or if I forgot to get some data off it.

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      3. apophis12, I’ve personally resold almost of my original iPods and iPhones. The ones I didn’t sell I gifted to someone else.

        I have, after 10 years, exactly ONE 8GB nano still sitting in a drawer.

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    2. What functionality are you referring to? Like your email bleeding through to other accounts so you get a selective aggregate view not by choice and have to remove your mail account and re add it to get it back to normal. Or how your alarm will hang if you get a text message or email alert notification prior requiring you to remove your battery to get it to stop. Or how if you are listening to Pandora or just mp3′s on your Android device that you get a deafening honk if you get an email alert or text notification. You got to love that you have to work on memory management to get your battery to last more than a few hours. I think people buy Android because they enjoy doing work to keep their device running. I’m done with Android.

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  9. Definitely bogus, I don’t even believe that Android phones are outselling iPhone 2 to 1.

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    1. reality’s a bitch isn’t it?

      I’m sure you can’t allow for the thought that Samsung is now the #1 smartphone manufacturer in the world either.

      Is the sky permanently rainbowed in your world?

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      1. Hamranhansenhansen Saturday, October 22, 2011

        The fact that Samsung only now became the largest smartphone vendor is not really something for Samsung to be proud of. They have been making phones for decades and have a huge channel. The fact that Apple was able to be the largest smartphone vendor after just 3 years in the industry and with only one phone says bad things about Samsung.

        Things are so good for Apple that people like you are clutching at straws to make things sound bad. Apple is the underdog, they are the new kid on the block. Samsung literally has 10 times more carrier stores they sell in. It shouldn’t even be close between them and Apple. Similarly, Android is hundreds of manufacturers put together. The fact that they are compared to Apple and only beat Apple in 1 or 2 ways does not say good things about Android.

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      2. @Hamranhansenhansen
        oh look, we have another butt hurt apple fan. . . surprise surprise.

        Unlike you, I don’t give a frack about any of these companies. They could all fall off the face of the earth for all I care. I’m just pointing out the reality apple fans like to dismiss.

        Deal with it! Apple isn’t number #1 at anything other than convincing idiots to separate with their cash for over-priced Asian made junk that will shatter if you look at it wrong.

        But you go ahead and keep tying yourself to your idevices like that somehow defines who you are and keep paying a company the highest markup of any company on the planet. . . and look at yourself in the mirror and then tell yourself how intelligent you are for those actions–delusion is great.

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      3. Aw, look how easily the Apple haters get their feathers all ruffled up…

        It amuses me greatly when I hear fandroids crowing about “choice”. The fact is that everyone has choice. You just don’t like it when people make different choices to you.

        I don’t much care for statistics either. There’s plenty of data to support just about any pre-existing opinion you might have on the subject. But if you’re sure you want to talk about “reality” then take 5 minutes to look up two statistics in particular:
        1. Which smartphone manufacturer is making all the money.
        2. Which mobile operating system is generating the vast majority of web traffic from mobile devices.

        Go ahead. We’ll wait.

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      4. @AppleFUD:
        “I don’t give a frack about any of these companies. They could all fall off the face of the earth for all I care…keep paying a company the highest markup of any company on the planet”

        You sure are all in a lather about a company that your couldn’t give “a frack about.” But, hey–I can tell you have a kind heart and really are concerned enough to save people from themselves. Good for you!

        By the way, if Apple (I assume that’s the company to which you’re referring in the quote) has “the highest markup of any company on the planet,” it must be a VERY low cost producer because its products are available at competitive prices. Go figure…

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      5. I use a 4 year old iPhone that was purchased by a friend who purchased it the first day the iPhone was available. Only phone I have and it is still in perfect working order. My friends laugh when they see it, but it is the first phone I have owned that outlived the contract, EVER. Pundits said the non-replaceable battery was an issue when it was introduced. My phone is still on its original battery and has good battery life (longer than a friend’s new Thunderbolt).

        I work in a strictly Microsoft environment that also supports Android, Microsoft, Blackberry and iOS devices for Exchange e-mail. I can tell you from experience that in the Exchange environment we have far more problems with the other devices (including Microsoft) than we do with iOS. Our executive staff gets to choose their smartphone platform and more and more are moving to iPhone because of reliability issues. They simply work better.

        In addition to the iPhone I have the following:

        1. 8 year old PowerBook
        2. 5 year old Mac Mini
        3. MacBook that is going to be 4 years old in January
        4. An AppleTV 2
        5. A Nook Color
        6. An iPad 2 (that was purchased to replace the Nook Color)

        All are in perfect working order (uses range from web development to media server). There are no plans to replace any of the devices any time soon. The Nook Color is on a shelf because the user experience is just not there yet. Browser is less than stellar, routinely freezes. doesn’t recognize MicroSD card, and the list goes on.

        In my current employment I am on my 3rd Windows based PC in 4.5 years. These machines seem to have a life expectancy of about 2 years. I have compared 8 year old Windows laptops when they can be found and it is not pretty. The PowerBooks design holds up and it still works. The PCs look like bricks, and are about as functional.

        I think this points to the issue. Commoditized PCs are seen as disposable so the cheaper price is accepted, but in the long run more money is spent on the “cheaper” devices.

        Yeah, I paid more for my Apple products initially, not significantly more, but more nonetheless. It is very possible that the useful life of most of these devices will be at least two to three times longer than comparable devices from other companies. I have never paid a penny for support on any of the devices. I consider that a pretty good return on investment.

        Funny thing is, and this is no joke. I have spent less on computer equipment than in the last ten years than any of my friends that “can’t afford” Apple. So the real question is who is drinking the Kook-Aid?

        Call me an Apple fanboy and I will wear the name as a badge of honor.

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      6. “Apple isn’t number #1 at anything other than convincing idiots to separate with their cash”

        Like it or not, this is how capitalism defines success.

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  10. Kevin,

    The math you did shows 3.42m TOTAL. Not last quarter. If 190m total Android devices have been activated and 1.8% of those are 3.x devices, then there are 3.42m 3.x devices period. At all. Not just last quarter. That’s against the 25m total iPad devices. Which makes 3.x devices have about a 12% share.

    The Strategy Analytics numbers are idiotic and yet another in a very long line of reasons the press should ignore analyst reports, esp when you can get figures yourself. Including the Nook Color as a full on Android tablet? Really? Yes, I know it can be rooted and flashed to be a full tablet, but my Macbook can run Windows, yet I don’t think it should be counted as part of MSFT’s marketshare…

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    1. Rick, you’re absolutely right: my math estimate would count total Android tablets ever sold, not just last quarter. And the iPad was at 25m sales back in June, IIRC, plus they just announced 11m more sold in the most recent quarter, so it’s probably like 10% less of Android tablets, i.e.: iPad still has a good 90% overall marketshare. Thanks for pointing that out.

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      1. If there are 3.42m Honeycomb tablet sold, there should be a total of around 5-6 million android tablet out there if we include the Galaxy Tab 7. I don’t know about US but I saw more people using Galaxy Tab 7 than Honeycomb tablet at Malaysia and Hong Kong.

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    2. TechCrunch announced all the way back in March that 3 million Nook Colors had already shipped. All Nook Colors run some version Android 2.x and are tablets. Personally, I run a rooted version of Android 2.3. and have complete access to the Android Market and the Amazon Appstore.

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  11. 26.9% yet nobody ever has one in real life? That’s like walking around for a year and never once seeing a Ford or Toyota car.

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    1. Or it’s like not really 26.9%. ;)

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  12. The number of growing Android tablets is testament to the fact there is market out there for these tablets.

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    1. Hamranhansenhansen Saturday, October 22, 2011

      No, it’s not. A market means sales. The only way you can prove there is a market for Android tablets is to have sales. Anybody can ship something and hope it sells. If it doesn’t sell, there is no market for it.

      Hardware-wise, iPad is just a smartphone with a giant GPU, giant screen, and giant battery. Any smartphone maker can whip that up. So they all did. But software-wise, iPad is running the PC class OS X core with PC class native C/C++ apps. People are buying iPad to be a PC, they are buying it because of its PC class software and apps. Of course, phone hardware makers did not get this, they thought if they made something that looks like iPad, it will sell like iPad. It has not. Android is a phone OS with phone class Java apps. The Android tablets are just big phones. They are not PC’s.

      That is why you see the most successful Android tablet so far is Kindle Fire, which is a media player. Being a media player is something that Android can handle.

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  13. Shipped does not mean sold. And which OS?

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  14. My experience is exactly the same as yours. I never see Android tablets. I’m the only person I know who has one. I wrote a similar but more abbreviated version of your piece above here: http://internet2go.net/news/data-and-forecasts/ipads-tablet-share-67-or-85

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  15. Bottom line: Android will surpass Apple in the tablet market just as it has in the smart phone market. It’ll take about 2 years…

    End of story.

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    1. In two years Android will have an 400% market share if it’s still around.

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    2. Hamranhansenhansen Saturday, October 22, 2011

      Android has all the advantages in phones. Tablets are PC’s. Apple has all the advantages in PC’s.

      If you go into any phone store on the planet, you will see an Android phone, typically from a handset maker who has been making phones for over 10 years, sometimes 20 years. Apple’s phones are only sold in something like 35% of all phone stores. Apple has not even been selling phones for 5 years yet. Apple only has 1 phone model per year, and they are all high-end phones. The lowest unsubsidized price is $399. There are $100 unsubsidized Android phones. When you look at all of the details, you don’t say “Android beat Apple,” you say “why did it take so long for all of the Android makers put together to sell more phones than Apple?”

      Also, in phones, Apple had to shrink their PC software down and basically it was a miracle they put OS X into a phone. Android was made specifically for phones, the Android vendors were on their own turf when it comes to phones. Apple was the interloper, the new guy.

      In PC’s, it all flips around. Apple has been making PC’s for 35 years. The Android handset makers have never, ever made a PC. Not a single one of them has ever made a PC. None of them have the channels for PC sales. Half of all people who say they are going to buy a tablet PC in the next year say they are going to go shopping for it at Apple Store, where they will buy an iPad.

      And Android is not PC class. It lacks a PC class display subsystem, PC class apps. There is over 10 years of work for 1000 engineers to turn Android into a PC class OS. Who is going to do that? Who is going to fund that? Who is going to wait for that to be completed?

      > Bottom line

      Interesting you use that term, because it usually means “profits.” Even though all of Android collectively moved a few more phones than Apple by itself, Apple took 66% of the profits from the entire market. So what did Android really win?

      So the bottom line is that Apple came into mobile phones way late and took most of the money out of there, and that was Android’s “win” on their own home turf. Now, we’re moving to Apple’s turf, with Apple wildly profitable and Android makers barely hanging on, and you think Apple is in trouble? Please.

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  16. I have noticed that there are a few Android tablets that look like laptops in the wild — Asus makes them like their nettops, and with keyboards, they don’t look so conspicuous.

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    1. Hamranhansenhansen Saturday, October 22, 2011

      About 10% of iPads are traveling that way, too. There are many cases that turn them into a clamshell for people who do a lot of typing but still appreciate 10 hour battery life, auto save, auto backup, and so on.

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  17. Hmm indeed Kevin. It actually looks like Android’s marketshare is closer to 3% or less.

    The iPad captured a 97% share of the tablet browsing market as reported by ComScore over the last quarter. With the iPad having 150,000 apps versus only hundreds for competing platforms, iPad owners individually probably browse the web less than Android owners and yet they still make up 97% of all tablet browsing on the Internet.

    As an extra data point, Good Technology two days ago reported that the iPad represented 96% of all their tablet activations calling Android tablets a “rounding error”. This compares with Android making up 39% of all their smartphone activations.

    What this means is all other platforms are suffering from massive channel stuffing with unsold inventory boosting their “shipped” figures, but absolutely burying their long-term viability.

    IDC reports that Android tablet share of sell-in to the channel has been dropping from 34% in Q1 this year o 26.4% in Q2 and is projected to flop to 23% this quarter.

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  18. Pierre-Jean Quilleré Friday, October 21, 2011

    There are a lot of 7″ Galaxy Tabs in Seoul’s subway. I would say it’s 50/50 between that tablet and the iPad. Very few 10.1″Galaxy Tabs though, I might have seen like two of them, total. How about the others? None.

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  19. Hamranhansenhansen Saturday, October 22, 2011

    They are counting shipments, not sales. If 10 vendors all ship just 1 tablet to each store in their channel, that is millions and millions of Android tablets, all sitting on store shelves. For most of iPad’s life, Apple was not able to meet demand, and even now they are sometimes out of stock at various stores. And iPad is the most popular low-end PC by far. All of the iPad shipments become sales, they don’t sit on shelves.

    Market share is sales, not shipments. So yes, you are looking at bogus numbers.

    Also, there is no “tablet market.” There are tablets in the media player market (iPod touch, Kindle Fire) and there are tablets in the phone market (iPhone, BlackBerry Torch) and there are tablets in the PC market (iPad, Windows TabletPC.) So if you are comparing a Kindle Fire and an iPad, you are comparing a media player to a PC, not comparing an Amazon to an Apple. If you buy the Kindle Fire, that does not mean it is better tablet than an iPad, that means you only needed a media player, you did not need a PC.

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    1. Rationalize my man! Rationalize!

      You really do sound a seriously butt hurt apple fan just crying away trying to throw anything at the wall to stick to make your precious look good. In all of it you essentially say, I’m an idiot and want to pay more for my Asian made idevice so that I can ensure apple (a company) makes the highest profits so I can crow about that to everyone. Unless you are a major stock holder–and they you wouldn’t be buying the devices because you are smart enough not to blow your profits–the CEO, on their board. . . you are an idiot that is easily parted from your hard earned cash whom wants everyone to know just what an idiot you are. Excellent job!

      Share
      1. Yep you are an idiot with a massive case of butt hurt. You know you got the wrong phone and can’t deal with your mistake so resort to trolling as a way to cope.

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      2. Your constant hard-on for pointing out the Asian origin of Apple devices is hilarious. Where are your Android boxes made, you doofus?

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      3. Same sad bullshit as always, I see. Look, when you get called on a bullshit claim, put up or shut. Being corrected is not the province of “butt hurt fanboys”. You can either rephrase, or admit your we’re full of shit. The third option that you routinely choose of insulting the person replying to your comment, only means you really don’t have your ducks in a row.

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      4. Homophobic and technologically illiterate. You from Arkansas, boy?

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  20. I have used all, Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom and iPad. The Android tablets miss the basics of engagement. The G-Tab is decent given the form factor but doesn’t have enough apps for it and the Android phone apps looks horrible. Don’t even get me started on Xoom, it is being used as a door stop now. iPad is the only device people want to play with and until the other tablet manufactures understand UX, including the form factor of the device.

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  21. There’s a reason why people shop at WalMart, too.

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  22. So to increase marketshare, I just have to know how many units Apple will ship then send double that to retailer warehouses? It’s so simple!

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  23. So that’s a “No”. Good job as always “analysts”.

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  24. Why not like this ….
    3 in 4 tablets sold last quarter were iPads !!!!

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  25. ive seen plenty of android tablets at college…in fact, there are almost as many honeycomb devices as ipads among students. i have not seen any android tablets outside of school, so i wonder if this might explain anything…

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  26. Shipped vs Sold

    I believe you are incorrect that 11.1 million represents the number of iPads sold-out by Apple in their last quarter. Apple’s 10-Q explicitly states that they report shipped as sold in most cases. What Apple do give (which most do not) is specific information on the increase in inventory in the quarter (they give it during the conference call), allowing sell-through to be accurately determined. In the case of this last quarter there was a significant build-up of iPad inventory, so sell-out was around 1.5million less than sell-in. This is the first quarter where the two numbers have differed significantly since the release of the iPad2, because this is the first quarter in which supply was able to fully meet demand.

    There’s no doubt that if we were to compare sales vs sales, Apple’s market share would be higher than shipments vs shipments. But the 11.1million number is shipments nevertheless.

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  27. Shipped vs Sold

    I believe you are incorrect that 11.1 million represents the number of iPads sold-out by Apple in their last quarter. Apple’s 10-Q explicitly states that they report shipped as sold in most cases. What Apple do give (which most do not) is specific information on the increase in inventory in the quarter (they give it during the conference call), allowing sell-through to be accurately determined. In the case of this last quarter there was a significant build-up of iPad inventory, so sell-out was around 1.5million less than sell-in. This is the first quarter where the two numbers have differed significantly since the release of the iPad2, because this is the first quarter in which supply was able to fully meet demand.

    There’s no doubt that if we were to compare sales vs sales, Apple’s market share would be higher than shipments vs shipments. But the 11.1million number is shipments nevertheless.

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  28. Android tablet market share is, at most, 15%. This is using real numbers. The Android number, 6 million units, comes from Andy Rubin of Google. The iPad numbers, almost 40 million, come from Apple, stated quarterly with every earnings report.

    Looking at iPad numbers conservatively, that still puts Google at no more than 14% share. If you add in a few more “other” units in the form of Playbook and Touchpad, that percentage is only gong to drop. Maybe no more than 12% – and I still think that’s being generous.

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  29. Speaking up for the Butt Hurt Fanboys, I use a 4 year old iPhone that was purchased by a friend who purchased it the first day the iPhone was available. Only phone I have and it is still in perfect working order. My friends laugh when they see it, but it is the first phone I have owned that outlived the contract, EVER. Pundits said the non-replaceable battery was an issue when it was introduced. My phone is still on its original battery and has good battery life (better than a friend’s new Thunderbolt).

    I work in a strictly Microsoft environment that also supports Android, Microsoft, Blackberry and iOS devices for Exchange e-mail. I can tell you from experience that in the Exchange environment we have far more problems with the other devices (including Microsoft) than we do with iOS. Our executive staff gets to choose their smartphone platform and more and more are moving to iPhone because of reliability issues. They simply work better.

    In addition to the iPhone I have the following:

    1. 8 year old PowerBook
    2. 5 year old Mac Mini
    3. MacBook that is going to be 4 years old in January
    4. An AppleTV 2
    5. A Nook Color
    6. An iPad 2 (that was purchased to replace the Nook Color)

    All are in perfect working order (uses range from web development to media server). There are no plans to replace any of the devices any time soon. The Nook Color is on a shelf because the user experience is just not there yet. Browser is less than stellar, routinely freezes. doesn’t recognize MicroSD card, and the list goes on.

    In my current employment I am on my 3rd Windows based PC in 4.5 years. These machines seem to have a life expectancy of about 2 years. I have compared 8 year old Windows laptops when they can be found and it is not pretty. The PowerBooks design holds up and it still works. The PCs look like bricks, and are about as functional.

    I think this points to the issue. Commoditized PCs are seen as disposable so the cheaper price is accepted, but in the long run more money is spent on the “cheaper” devices.

    Yeah, I paid more for my Apple products initially, not significantly more, but more nonetheless. It is very possible that the useful life of most of these devices will be at least two to three times longer than comparable devices from other companies. I have never paid a penny for support on any of the devices. I consider that a pretty good return on investment.

    Funny thing is, and this is no joke. I have spent less on computer equipment than in the last ten years than any of my friends that “can’t afford” Apple. So the real question is who is drinking the Kook-Aid?

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  30. It is funny how big of a deal people make over shipments rather than the number that really matters. From this perspective

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  31. Defining market share as number of units shipped is basically meaningless. Hypothetical example: Company A ships 1 million tablets to retailers but no one buys them, while Company B only ships 1000 tablets but sells out. If your definition of market share is “number of units shipped,” then Company A would have 99.9% market share despite having zero users, while Company B’s market share would only be 0.1% even though they completely outsold Company A.

    The number of units *sold* is a lot more meaningful, because that tells you how many people are actually buying and using the product vs. sitting on store shelves and never selling.

    So, in the case of Apple and Android, if you’re going to compare number of iPads *sold* to number of Android tablets *shipped*, then of course Android is going to have a higher “market share” even though the iPad usually leads when you look at real usage.

    Comparisons like this are meaningless at best and disingenuous at worst.

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  32. Rick Anderson Sunday, October 23, 2011

    “So are the small 7-inch tablets running the smartphone OS counted in the numbers?”

    Of course not. Why would anyone in the pro-Android camp count such a thing, essentially a big phone, and when most of them derided the iPad as nothing new for exactly that reason. We’ve since come to learn that the iPad is far more than just a “big iPhone” and has created an entirely new, thriving product category. I say we reject any “big phones” when counting the tablet market. That seems to be the standard people wanted to leverage against Apple so why not stick to it. Wouldn’t want any double standards creeping in this discussion.

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  33. Lindsworth Horatio Deer Sunday, October 23, 2011

    The foible of statistical interpretation. I suspect the love for Android Tablets is possibly the free games and free apps. Not to mention cheaper hardware and a pleothera of choices compared to Apple lone iPad

    http://www.geezam.com/android-tablets-gain-on-the-apple-ipad/

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  34. Don’t try to argue with Apple fanboys, they will always defend the garbage product that Apple makes against the better Android products. The fact of the matter is Apple barely makes any of the major components for it’s devices, they are purchased from other companies like Samsung for example (they make most of the major components for the most of Apples mobile devices actually including the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2……major meaning parts of the device like the processor – that’s right, that’s a Samsung chip with that Apple logo)

    That’s only one manufacturer that makes products for Apple. Now Apple fanboys, think hard and logical about this question: If I were making parts for your product (because you can’t make it yourself) and you and I compete in the same Market, who would I make the better parts for? You or myself? Here’s the Apple fanboy version: Apple companies makes better parts for Apple and keep the worse parts for their devices. Guess what the real version is?

    Anyway you guys use common sense and figure it out. Do research yourself, go to sites that review and benchmarks these devices and look at the real facts and see for yourself. I’m not talking about people’s opinions on sites, I’m talking about facts based websites that stress testing these devices to see which performs the best. You have the internet right, fucking use it to help yourself instead of looking like asses and lying to others based on your opinions

    Finally, Apple is so pathetic that all they had to do was put the device together….bear in mind they got parts that they could not build and all they had to do was put it together properly……and even that they failed on. You guys want to know why? The answer is because of fanboys like yourself and their marketing strategies. They can manufacture shit and your guys would buy it and say that it smells better than your own. That’s how much Apple brainwashed you guys. Here’s a simple drop test between the iPhone 4s and the Galaxy S II (a much older android phone):
    http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/10/iphone-4s-drop-test-vs-samsung-galaxy-s2/
    They don’t even care about making the items they sell to you guys durable…..metal and glass = fail, you would think that Apple should know that right, at least put gorilla glass, but again Apple does not care about it’s consumer, but it’s consumers will die defending Apple’s shit products any day. Remember though it’s not Apple’s product, but the other companies that Apple buy the parts from, but you can’t blame those companies for selling Apple garbage parts…..but you can blame Apple for the flawed design though, since it’s the only part of the building process that were in their hands.

    I know I will get a lot of Apple fanboys (that don’t know anything about technology, and never do any hard research on the product that they’re buying) talking shit about my post……and in that case, all I can say (once again) is that you don’t have to take my word for it, go check the benchmarks and testing of different aspects of these devices yourself, you have the fucking internet so start using it and stop posting dumb shit all over the internet for other idiots to read, because they may take your word for it, and we end up with 2 people talking out of their ass and so on.

    “An uneducated consumer is Apple’s best customer”

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  35. you had the article right until you used the analogy of “let me see what i spy on the wild, to see what people want”
    thats complete BS. if you have 40 mil Ipads out there and only 4.5 mil Androids… of course you only going to spot the Ipad. thats simple odds… that is way to biased by demographics, location, users, etc… thats a waste…

    let me make you an analogy…. In ohio, in about a 30 mile drive, you can spot about 8 non catholic churchs for every catholic one. Literally!!! does this means that catholic church is no longer the largest?

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    1. Chaco, it was simply an observation; not the underlying reason why I don’t believe the “sales” figures. ;)

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  36. “Assuming that Android tablet sales are dramatically rising, I’m not sure I understand why. What has changed from the prior quarter for these devices? Not much, aside from a few minor platform updates to address a tablet OS that was rushed to market. Aside from some price drops, I don’t see why consumers would suddenly be purchasing Android tablets. That doesn’t mean I think the iPad is the best tablet for everyone; I’m simply trying to understand the market share numbers.” ONe thing to remember.. in this economy everyone is looking at price now. For a lot of people out there if can get something comparable to an ipad at 1/2 the price, they are going to do it. Similar functionality but less of pocket. People will make the trade off. I use an ipad at work but for home I cannot afford it. That’s where the android tablet is going to come into play this christmas hopefully.

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  37. I am not going to enter the debate. I only want to make a comment to the author.

    “I’m not sure I understand why. What has changed from the prior quarter for these devices? Not much, aside from a few minor platform updates to address a tablet OS that was rushed to market.”

    The only serious tablet from Android in Q2 was the Xoom. There were many viable options released at the very end of Q2 and in Q3. I have handled many and the SGT 10.1 is the best tablet around. My local Best Buy said it is outselling the iPad at their store.

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  38. Anyways, apple products are far superior than any other and ios is simply the best

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  39. “Assuming that Android tablet sales are dramatically rising, I’m not sure I understand why. What has changed from the prior quarter for these devices?”

    I will answer that; the availability of more Honeycomb tablets. In the first two quarters only the Motorola Xoom which was overpriced and not finished, the Asus transformer became (limited) available near the end of the second quarter. In the 3rd quarter the Asus became readily available and the honeycomb Samsung Tab became available.

    Having used both the iPad and Honeycomb tablets I can clearly see why Android is gaining popularity; it´s much more a real OS which IMO is (even) more important for tablets as for smart phones and the Screen quality of (at least the Galaxy Tab 10 and TF101) exceeds the low res iPad´s screen.

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  40. Paul Griffin Petty Monday, October 24, 2011

    This is really dumb; if you can’t determine percentages based on actual consumer ownership: skip it.

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  41. Lindsworth Horatio Deer Monday, October 24, 2011

    Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is not another representative of the Apple shark Killers aiming their spear guns at the iPad. This is a different creature altogether: a Nvidoa Quad-core “Kal-el” Tablet gaming rig!!

    The prophetic declaration in April 2010 by Hideo Kojima in Tokyo appears to be coming to pass, quote: “In the near future, we’ll have games that don’t depend on any platform. Gamers should be able to take the experience with them in their living rooms, on the go, when they travel — wherever they are and whenever they want to play. It should be the same software and the same experience”.

    Android gaining on Apple or not is irrelevant. In the future, gaming consoles will be extinct in this “Post-PC era”

    http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2011/10/asus-eee-pad-transformer-prime-to-debut.html

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  42. kevin you are too usa centric, come to asia and you will see galaxy tabs in every shape and size on the shelves of small stores all over the malls, in one local mall in manila last weekend i saw over 20 separate shops with tabs in – samsung is pushing the local market hard, ipads are generally only available in a few authorized retailers, with stock selling out as quickly as it arrives. In contrast what you see in the coffee shops and workplace (ie hospitals) is ipads everywhere, and rarely a tab in site. All interestingly you often see the shop with tabs in the window, offer cases and jailbreaking (less than 20 bucks with volumes of software thrown in) for ipads but few accessories for tabs. Its a tale of marketing vs consumer choice

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    1. Manila, I have no doubt that in certain markets — like Samsung’s backyard — non iPad tablets are selling relatively well. I’d still love to visit though and see for myself…. will check the GigaOM travel budget. ;)

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      1. kevin its a crazy place – but you missed my point i think – tabs are for sale everywhere- but they are not selling – you rarely see them in anyones hands, just in all the electronic shop windows -its ipad ipad ipad here

        the new tab 5 here is already discounted to about 220 usa dollars, with a 70 dollar pair of earphones thrown in – yet not actually seen anyone buy one – i work in a hospital, everyone has itouches and ipads, its a shame as we all would love the itouch in a 5 inch form factor!

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      2. oh and asians have small hands :) – 10 inchs is big! give us a 5 to 7 inch ipad/itouch please!!!!!!- the ipad is too big, lovely but easily stolen, and 300 dollars would be sweet :)

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