Some people may find this hard to believe. But, there was a tablet computer market prior to April 4, 2010 (the WiFi-only iPad release date). Yes, it was a tiny nearly invisible one consisting mostly of niche vertical market tablet computers running Microsoft Windows or Linux. But, it existed. Apple rocked this market by turning everything on its head. Instead of using a desktop software platform, it modified its phone platform. Instead of focusing on input (filling out forms with a stylus), it focused on making the iPad a data (media) output device. And, of course, instead of focusing on narrow vertical markets, it provided an app market that had something for nearly everyone. Microsoft has yet to respond to the iPad. Google’s Android hardware partners were barely able to provide a late 2010 response in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Still, Businessweek/Bloomberg reports that Android tablets had 22% of the global market in the October to December 2010 period (compared to 2.3% in the preceding quarter). This gain came, according to the report, at the expense Apple’s iPad market share.
Apple’s iPad, did well in that quarter too, however, Apple shipped 7.3 million iPads. This was an 74% increase over the previous quarter. So, while Apple’s share of the total pie chart is smaller, the overall numbers for everyone is, in fact, larger.
We should, in my opinion, continue to see this kind of win-win growth numbers (pie chart shares notwithstanding) for a few more years until we hit the kind of market saturation we currently have in the desktop computer market.