Android to overtake Apple in global tablet market share: ITRI

By Ted Chen ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Android operating system is poised to usurp Apple’s hegemonic hold on the global market share of tablet computers, according to the latest findings published yesterday by a research and development organization. Apple’s hold on the global market share for tablet computers, via its popular iPad variants, may be eclipsed by the multitudes of devices running Google’s Android system by the end of this year, according to the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院). Adopted by numerous manufacturers, consumers are afforded a wide variety of Android tablets available in a wide range of prices and form factors, a particularly compelling draw for price-conscious first-time buyers, said ITRI researchers. Researchers also noted in contrast in Apple’s exclusive practices, Android’s consortium-based approach have provided consumers with more options via faster paced product launch cycles. In particular, local brands making Android-based products have proved to be more nimble in meeting the surging demand for tablet computers of various specifications in the vast China market, further propelling the proliferation of the open systems platform, said ITRI.

Following several booming years, momentum of the world wide boom in demand for tablet may begin to wane, said ITRI. Global shipment of tablet computers is expected to reach 227 million units by the end of 2013, a 57 percent year-on-year growth compared to the 147 million units recorded in 2012. The dramatic growth may be halved in 2014, with total shipments expected to reach 278 million units, a 22 percent growth trajectory.

ITRI stated that with momentum slowing across the sector, manufactures’ success will be dependent on sales performances in developing markets such as China. Tablet makers also face heightened challenges including shorter product life cycles, and dwindling retail price tags due to the rise of lower-priced product offerings. Meanwhile, following its acquisition of Nokia’s Smart Devices business unit, Microsoft is poised to contest the tablet market thus far dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, in form of its forthcoming Surface 2 device. Nokia is also seeking to join the fray with its upcoming Lumia 2520 tablet, while reports indicate that South Korean-based device maker LG has its own tablet offering in the works.

Advent of Fingerprint Security Features on Handsets Fingerprint security is poised to become the next front in the features race among handset makers. Following the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5S, which features a fingerprint scanning and verification solution provided by AuthenTec, non-Apple manufacturers are racing to offer matching functions, said ITRI. The efforts of non-Apple manufacturers have been concentrating on Validity Sensors, a fingerprint verification solutions provider recently acquired by Synaptics. , a longtime leader in human interface technology, according to ITRI.