updated 03:45 pm EDT, Mon August 8, 2011
May narrow gap between Android tablets, iPad
Shipments of non-Apple tablets should rise 134 percent in 2012, even as the iPad grows only 55 percent, according to market estimates quoted by Digitimes. While the iPad is still forecast to hold a commanding lead, with 54 to 55 million units, shipments of Android-based tablets are expected to grow to between 44 and 45 million. Only 19 to 20 million Android tablets are predicted for the whole of 2011.
The industry is ramping up tablet production in general, but one contributing factor to the influx is said to be Google's upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich release of Android. The update should more seamlessly support different device types. While Android currently runs on both smartphones and tablets, the OS is fragmented, requiring special work to translate a phone app to tablets. iOS apps, by contrast, will typically run on both iPhones and iPads even if they don't exploit iPad features.
NVIDIA, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm are additionally expected to release new processors by the end of the year or early in 2012, something tablet makers are likely to take advantage of. NVIDIA in particularly may ship its Tegra 3 chip in September or October. The processor is a quad-core design up to five times faster at 3D than the Tegra 2, and moreover capable of resolutions up to 2560x1600. Computer maker ASUS has stated an intent to use the processor in its next-generation Eee Pad Transformer.