Android tablet market to cut down iPad share by 2014

by Kristen Nicole

With the release of the Kindle Fire and other tablets, things are looking up: Android’s share of the tablet market is expected to rise in the next two years. According to a recent eMarketer report, the iPad takes up 83 percent of the tablet market today, but Android and Windows 8 will chop Apple’s shares down to 76 percent next year, 71 percent by 2013 and even lower to 68 percent by 2014. It’s well-priced gadgets like the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble NOOK that will likely push Android’s numbers up. Amazon’s Kindle Fire just hit shelves days ago, and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks they can sell as many as 4 million by the end of this year.

The updated Android OS (4.0) is also contributing to the growing enthusiasm around Android’s tablet share. And though the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was the first smartphone to show off Ice Cream Sandwich, the Asus Transformer Prime is the first tablet to run the updated version of Android. Asus was quick to announce their plans to launch an ICS tablet, and thanks to a video demo first reported on by GigaOm, we get an early glimpse at how a tablet will run on Android 4.0.

The demo was made by NVIDIA, the maker of the quad-core Tegra 3 processor used in the Transformer Prime. It takes the 10.1-inch tablet through the apps and widget menus, updated for ICS, as well as a few seconds of high-def video and a game app. Things look pretty good so far, though Asus will face some tough competition as more manufacturers look to release Android 4.0 tablets next year. You can expect the Transformer Prime to his stores in early December for around $499 for the 32GB model ($599 for 64GB), though it will ship with Honeycomb and will get the ICS update sometime after launch.

Android smartphones dominate for better and for worse

Android’s growth in the tablet market will see a steady uptick in the coming years, but its smartphone shares have already surpassed its rivals. Google’s mobile OS is the most widely used across the globe, despite Apple’s iPhone topping the most favored devices list on Millennial Media’s mobile ad network. According to Millennial’s October Mobile Mix report, Android handsets have taken up the bulk of that list, with HTC and Samsung smartphones capturing the majority altogether.

But Android devices dominate another list: that of the most vulnerable for security breaches. Enterprise-ready security vendor Bit9 ranked the 12 most vulnerable cell phones (the “dirty dozen”) based on how dated its software is out the box. Thanks to Android fragmentation, lower software versions are at higher risk to malware attacks, taking up the majority of Bit9’s list.