updated 09:15 am EDT, Thu July 21, 2011
Strategy Analytics says PlayBook smallest in share
New data from Strategy Analytics suggested that even Microsoft had managed to ship more tablets than RIM in the spring. Windows 7 tablets made up 4.6 percent of the tablet space, or 697,000 devices, where RIM's 500,000 PlayBooks were only enough to give its platform 3.3 percent. RIM was larger as an individual manufacturer but couldn't claim an OS-level lead.
Microsoft was likely helped mostly by having a handful of tablets in enterprise and through a wide swath of smaller brands that rarely if ever have used a non-Microsoft platform. Acer, Dell, HP, China's Hanvon and others have significant stakes but might not sell more than a few dozen thousand each.
Apple still had the clear market share lead with 61.3 percent of tablets being iPads. Android grew from 2.9 percent a year ago to 30 percent as a truly tablet-optimized OS reached shelves through devices like the Acer Iconia Tab, LG Optimus Pad, Motorola Xoom, and Samsung's likely Android leader, the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Researchers didn't make long-term perdictions, although Google isn't expected to necessarily repeat the quick success it had in phones. A lack of native apps and rushed releases have dampened the release. Many of the initial manufacturers also made bad assumptions that their strategies of selling phones through carriers would extend to tablets. The iPad's success has been credited in part to Apple selling Wi-Fi only and contract-free 3G devices where Motorola and Samsung made early mistakes in relying on carriers. Samsung has since focused on Wi-Fi models first.
Microsoft is putting all its hopes for significant share on Windows 8, though it may not release until mid-2012 and could cost it share in the meantime.