updated 04:46 pm EDT, Tue October 2, 2012
Tablet ownership up to 22 percent of adults
Apple's dominance of the tablet market may be on the wan, as Android-based tablets are said to make up nearly half the market. This according to a Pew poll out recently showing that, among US tablet owners, 48 percent own a tablet running some version of Google's Android operating system. This latest figure represents a considerable loosening of Apple's grip on the tablet sector, and it does not yet take into account a number of other devices that may loosen that grip even more.
Between July 16 and August 7 of this year, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism asked 1,096 US adults about their tablets. Among tablet owners, 52 percent said they owned an Apple iPad. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they owned a Kindle Fire from Amazon. The rest of Android's 48 percent share was made up of an assortment of other manufacturers, with Samsung's Galaxy Tab the next largest contender at eight percent.
The Kindle Fire's share among consumers is particularly notable, as it matches almost exactly the figure given by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos earlier this year. In introducing Amazon's new line of Kindles and Kindle Fire devices, Bezos claimed that the Kindle Fire had captured 22 percent of the US tablet market.
The survey was conducted before the introduction of Google's Nexus 7 or Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD, both of which have reportedly been seeing brisk sales.
The numbers from this newest poll show a considerable reversal from last year, which found Apple with an 81 percent share of the tablet market, compared to 15 percent for Android and four percent for other manufacturers. An earlier PEJ poll found that tablet owners make up 22 percent of the US adult population, with another three percent regularly using a tablet owned by someone else in their home.
Apple's iPad still accounts for a sizable majority of all tablets shipped, but the new figures -- should they accurately reflect reality in the US -- would seem to indicate that Android is finally beginning to catch up in the tablet space.
Android's steps toward closing the gap could be due in part to customer loyalty to the operating system. The poll also found that the majority of iPad owners also have an iPhone, and the majority of Android tablet owners had an Android phone.