A Changing Tablet Market?

I saw this in a story I was reading this morning about mobile reading habits:

A year ago, the iPad accounted for 81% of tablets in circulation. That has fallen to 52%, with Android-based tablets grabbing a 48% share of the market. Amazon’s Kindle Fire accounts for far and away the largest slice of those: half of the Android tablets in use are Kindle Fires, and they represent 21% of the overall tablet market.

If that's true, that is a big deal. Our family has moved from iPads to Nexus 7s in our home but I didn't think the rest of the world had moved to Android tablets too.

I am curious if others are surprised by this. I honestly had no idea that Android had made such a big move in tablets. I realize Kindle Fire is hardly Android. More like a third tablet OS. So it's really like iPad 52%, Android 27%, Kindle Fire 21%. But even so, this is a big deal and I am surprised.


Comments (Archived):

  1. gregorylent

    must be thirty different brands, and sizes, of tablets in Media Markt in Shanghai … and on the street or in coffee shops, i probably see more smaller tablets than ipads … i think kids don’t care about the operating system, just the form factor and price.

    1. fredwilson


      1. Pete Griffiths

        Clay C.

  2. Rohan

    Europe + North America population: Roughly 1.3 BillionAsia + South America: Roughly 4.5 BillionTablets are, at the end of the day, luxury devices. While Asia and South America are fast climbing up the food chain, there’s no way the average person would choose an iPad over a cheaper Android.In summary, not surprised at all.

    1. John Best

      I’m surprised that the penetration has happened so quickly. I agree with your assessment completely though.

      1. Rohan

        Asia is getting richer very quick.Rich enough to think of tablets.Not yet rich enough to think of iPads. 🙂

        1. John Best

          Yeah, I was thinking about it in terms of an aspirational product (for a lot of users). In “developing” areas, the aspiration is tablet ownership, not necessarily a brand.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            start with a hyundai/kia …

        2. ShanaC

          the west still doesn’t buy Tata’s either.

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      The numbers in the study are from interviews with 9513 adults in the US, so it is still surprising to me.One factor I would try to put into the explanation is lies. I suspect many Android convinced users (a.k.a. fanboys, not as many as Apple’s, but there are a few) will be eager to say they use an Adroid table when in fact they are using an iPad. I know is twisted, but I never trust human nature 🙂

      1. raycote

        Did I just hear you sayAndroid fanboys are liars ?Don’t go around repeating that on other blogs 🙂

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          Everyone is a liar, only some people don’t know they lie 🙂

  3. cfrerebeau

    I feel that one of the major issue of android tablet is there OS are updated with so much delay. I have an iPad and a Samsung tablet. The android tablet was using android 3.0 which I least on my tablet at a lot of bugs and weird behavior. I was mostly using the iPad.Now that android 4.0 is out (only since August for this model). I noticed using the Samsung tablet most of the time. In my opinion android is quickly catching up on the iPad in term of software and allows for more innovation in term of app. I just wish the technology the constructor use would allow upgrade more seamlessly.

    1. fredwilson

      I have not had that issue but I use the Google nexus devices

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        Being on Nexus, both in phones and tablets, is a great decission. Sometimes the phones are not as shiny as the latest one, but a few months in, when you’ve had a couple of updates, it pays.

  4. Pravin J

    Kindle Fire is distinctively a content consumption play, a niche tablet (maybe) for Amazon customers. The rest of the market is driven by price. Amongst brands, Samsung is still in game with aggressive market play, Asus & Acer to some extent. Rest all manufacturers – Lenovo, Sony, Dell, HTC, etc have more or less abandoned this segment.My guess is of the 27% Android market share, over 75% may be contributed by Tablets priced between $100 – $250. Maybe that is driving the growth.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Yeah, AMZN is not in this for hardware sales, so they can incentivize the heck out of the Kindle Fire and other Kindles.

  5. jason wright

    Await the arrival of the mini ipad.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Do you think they will really call it the Mini iPad? It seems to imply that the current one is Maxi…and I think that would be a bad marketing decision.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        maybe call it the mini cooper pad. minis now come in 3 sizes — regular (small), clubman (medium) and countryman (large)

        1. JimHirshfield

          Love the Mini Cooper – stealth sports car.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            yes! somehow a meme got around that the mars rover, curiosity, is a “mini-cooper sized robot” — i googled it to find the first instance; couldn’t tell if a scientist had said that or if it was a genius piece of marketingthe clubman is the best car i’ve ever had

          2. JimHirshfield

            Nice to find another mini owner among this community. Best mobile device I’ve ever had. 😉

          3. jason wright

            …and in California we can now all become legitimate back seat drivers.

          4. JimHirshfield

            Clearly you’re referring to the ex-Govenator having to sit in the back seat of a mini cooper (after ripping out the front seat)? Either that or some crazy scheme to have cars “drive themselves”.

          5. jason wright

            that would be crazy :-)who would think of such a thing?

          6. JimHirshfield

            I think I saw it in a movie…definitely comic relief.

          7. laurie kalmanson

            lol. same, same.from nasa:http://www.nasa.gov/mission…With a pair of bug-eyes swiveling on a stalk nearly 8 feet off the ground, the 6-wheeled, 1800-lb Mars rover Curiosity doesn’t look much like a human being. Yet, right now, the mini-Cooper-sized rover is playing the role of stunt double for NASA astronauts.”Curiosity is riding to Mars in the belly of a spacecraft, where an astronaut would be,” explains Don Hassler of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “This means the rover experiences deep-space radiation storms in the same way that a real astronaut would.”

          8. ShanaC

            i still want a self driving car….

      2. jason wright

        I’m not sure about the name (I doubt it will be ‘Lite’), but it’s an investment in a defensive strategy to promote sustainability.

      3. Fernando Gutierrez

        What I wonder is how they will price it. With the iPod touch at $299 it seems the obvious spot is already covered.

        1. JimHirshfield


          1. Fernando Gutierrez

            I think that would kill the iPod, but we’ll see!

        2. Yalim K. Gerger

          I wonder that too. Every price point is pretty much covered. This will be interesting to watch.

      4. RichardF

        nah they’ll call it the iNexus7 and sue Google

        1. JimHirshfield


        2. JLM

          Haha Well played!

      5. kidmercury


    2. kenberger

      yes, most certainly there is a part of the market that is simply waiting for the “mini”, temporarily deflating ipad numbers, just as iphone4 sales were down awaiting the iphone5 release.

  6. @FakeBradFeld

    Apple marketing cannot convince Asians to pay more for “pretty”. I have been extremely pleased with my Nexus 7 tablet and Samsung S3 phone. Android has come a long way in the last 2 years.

    1. Rohan

      Sorry, but that’s bull shit. (That = Apple marketing cannot convince Asians to pay more for “pretty”). And I’ll give you 3 reasons why..1) Apple’s product are VERY attractive. In fact, the prestige/lure is even more than in the developed parts of the world. But, they are also prohibitively expensive.2) “Pretty” doesn’t make a company wildly successful. And Apple has been that for 12 years or so now (and arguably before that as well). At it’s core, Apple is still a design company but there’s lot more to design than “pretty”3) To point to marketing as the reason behind Apple’s success is, well, naive.

      1. @FakeBradFeld

        My definition of pretty and good design are the same, so I agree with your #1. For #2, pretty helps a lot when Android had all of the boxy, ugly tabs for the same price. As to #3, marketing without competition helps a lot and now with competition they need to compete differently – innovation rather than litigation.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      Asians who can afford it are as subject to brand as anyone. Btw the huge lines and fights outside Apple stores in Beijing would support this proposition. 🙂

    3. Dale Allyn

      In Bangkok, Apple branded products are seen as a status symbol and highly sought after. Anything less than an iPhone sends a signal of using a “lesser product”. Same goes for iPad. If a member of a group of friends gets an iPhone or an iPad, the group hovers around it and “oohs and ahhhs” over it.Many people will pay a substantial part of their income to own Apple products there now.

      1. @FakeBradFeld

        Good point, it is a strong brand, but will it endure?

        1. Dale Allyn

          To me, the only way it endures is if Apple continue to work to make the user experience a positive one (software, hardware, image, etc.), and IF competitors don’t step up with similar high quality and attractive options.Years ago Nokia were making “sexy” phones in comparison to others in the market. Now look at them. I considered buying a Google Nexus phone to have an Android device on hand (together with a Nexus 7), and I may still do so. But the product is plasticy by comparison.Lots of people are loving their Samsung products (and others), so I do think that Apple’s caché will dim a bit if others step up in terms of design and software integration .

  7. Benedict Evans

    That data is interesting, though it’s leavened by being survey based.We know from the patent lawsuit disclosures that Samsung sold just 1.4m Android tablets in the US through June 2012 (excluding the 5″ ‘phablet’ models and some newer models, though) where Apple sold 34m – 20m in the last 12 months.Then, Amazon says the Fire has ‘22% share in the USA’, but gives no indication of how it calculated this, and Nook business unit revenue was $200m in Q2 (including ebooks), so B&N must be selling under 500k Nook units a quarter (probably much less). Meanwhile B&N claims 25% or so ebook market share versus over 60% for Amazon.So…It looks like there are 30m iPads in the USA (depending on how many you think have been replaced by newer models but not handed on). If one assumes 10m Fires, 2.5m Nooks and 5m ‘pure Android’ tablets, that gets Amazon to 21%, Apple to 63% and gives Samsung, say, 20% of those pure tablets, all of which seems internally consistent. The Fire number feels a little high though.The real question is what those ‘pure android’ tablets really look like. How many are the Nexus 7? How many are cheap generic plastic Chinese units at $150 or below? And with Amazon ramping up its proposition and going down to $160, will people keep buying those generic units or return to a brand with a clear content proposition?I suspect Android tablets face an even bigger self-selection issue than Android phones. Given you can get a great app and content experience from Apple for $400 (or maybe lower if the iPad Mini exists) and a great content experience from Amazon for $160, what sort of person with what sort of use case will buy the pure Android tablet, and will they be the kind of person that would install cool new apps and buy stuff? Or are they buying a ‘web tablet’ at Walgreens?That doesn’t really matter to Google, of course – all of these devices are expanding the inventory for Adsense. But they’re probably not a great target market for anything other than generic web use.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Many of Android tablets have been bought because they are cheaper, but I believe that will not always be the case. It is not with phones already, some are as expensive as an iPhone. Some users (like me) prefer Android because we like it more than iOS. I depend on Google services for almost everything, and the integration I get with Android is far better than what I can get with iOS.

      1. Benedict Evans

        Some Android phones are indeed as expensive as the iPhone, but that’s not where the volume is. The vast majority of Android sales are at substantially lower prices.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          I’m not sure about the source, but I think that I read somewhere that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is Android best seller ever.I think that you are right in your first comment, there’s being a lot of self-selection, but the market is converging into the best phones, not always the cheapest. If someone wants cheap but doesn’t want Android he can buy an iPhone 4S or even get an iPhone 4 for free. Price is not always the explanation.

          1. Benedict Evans

            The cheapest iPhone Apple sells is $425, not ‘free’. That’s a premium price.That is masked, partly, by subsidies, especially in the USA, but it isn’t masked at all on prepay, which is most of the world’s users.

          2. Fernando Gutierrez

            Subsidies work everywhere and they also mask the price of Android phones. No phone is free.

          3. Benedict Evans

            Let me introduce you to the concept of ‘prepay’Moreover, subsidies are not uniform. More expensive phones result in higher contract prices.

          4. Fernando Gutierrez

            I know about prepay. I’ve been travelling to the US monthly for a couple years and I’ve used my own smartphone with a prepaid plan. But those plans are barely marketed and my sensation is that they account for a tiny percentage of the smartphone market (not in the feature phone market). Outside of the US I only know well the Spanish market, and here I think prepay smartphone is just an anecdote.I’ve searched for data on this, but I can’t find anything reliable. The only thing I found is a press release by the NPD Group in which they say that prepay have grown 91% year to year in the US, with a 9% total growth and contracts flat. That would mean a 90-10 split in 2011 and a 83-17 in 2012, but they don’t give the data behind that for free, so I can’t be sure.I know from your blog that you are really into mobile, so if you have any data and can share it I’d love to read about it.

          5. Benedict Evans

            The prepay smartphone market is huge, and almost entirely Android (including in Spain). The only country where it is not significant is the USA. Apple is effectively ignoring this market, for now at least.

          6. raycote

            Many low end Android phones are near free.My wife and I have crapy LG Android phones that only cost $89 outright.They meet our minimal needs for now.

      2. jason wright

        “I depend on Google services for almost everything”I wouldn’t want that.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          Neither do I, but that’s how it is. I don’t find good enough alternatives to Gmail+GDocs+Maps+Google search. I resist to GDrive because I love Dropbox, but I know it would be easier to just surrender.

          1. JLM

            .I agree more with you than you do with yourself.I am now an Android slave and it has been painless..

          2. raycote

            Oops – do to no fault of your ownyou just pressed a hot button- off topic rant ahead ;-)Analytic tools are becoming ever more inexpensive and accessible.It is now becoming the ownership of “Big-Data” that gives entities the power to seize control and thus extract social, political and commercial value!It seem important that democratically minded societies quickly crank up the public meme that says:Democratic societies need to own their own “Big-Data”.Any thing less means that “Effective Democracy” doesn’t make the jump to the next level of network-effect driven social fabric.The Googles, Facebooks, etc. of the world are the new railroad and oil cartels. They block the key social value inherent in distributively recombinant creative-remixing of even our own publicly crowd sourced “Big-Data”.Free is to high a price to pay for the short term conveniences they offer and just like everything else that is to good to be true – well it is! Just to keep my quota of cliches up “there is no free lunch” not even at Google, Facebook, etc.And unlike the railroads and oil cartels their network structured tentacle will be so intricately embedded into the fabric of society that they will be almost impossible to extract.Without the freedom to openly remix all our “Big-Data” objects with all those “Algorithmic Processing” objects across the internet, the network-effect will not deliver on its magic-mojo-potential of purpose-driven, democratic-best-fit, community-synchronizing, organic connectedness.Between the network-effect and the hyper-accelerated automation of everything, we are entering a perfect storm of creative destruction that undermines the very fabric of social participation in traditional market driven production/consumption cyclical stasis.The bottom line – John HagelUntil and unless we re-frame the challenges we face, we’ll have little hope of developing effective programs of change. At its core, this isn’t a technological challenge, but an institutional challenge. We’re dealing with a set of institutions that are increasingly inappropriate for the mounting pressure we face. At an even more fundamental level, it’s a mindset challenge – it’s about our beliefs about the kinds of institutions that we need to assure our prosperity and well-being.http://edgeperspectives.typ…The network-effect extends the concept of a market-driven economy only if we can meet the challenge to re-configure our institutions and values to realign with the beneficial underling propensities inherent in a network-based social-substrate.Shot of realigning our institutions and values to harvest the full social scaling potential of the network-effect we will simply repeat the old patterns of top-down, choke-hold, divide and conquer at a network-effect scale.Organic connectedness vs top-down connectednessif “the medium is the message”Which medium is going to be our evolutionary message?This is our species’ “Strange Loop” testing moment!Can we muster the self-reffreenial, “Strange Loop”, collective introspection required to reshape the medium upon which our own evolutionary trajectory will depend or have we reached our individualist vs collective cognitive-survival-stratagy evolutionary hull speed?We are the Borg.We and only we can decide how to assimilate ourselves!

          3. Fernando Gutierrez

            Hot button indeed!! 🙂

    2. markslater

      great analysis – thanks.It feels like IPAD has far more than 52% share.

    3. griggle

      But you assume Samsung has a large Tablet share? Asus, Acer, Motorola, Toshiba all had Android. Most year old Androids I see are Asus and then Acer, they were alos $100 cheaper than the Samsung & Motorola.-Personally I went with the Transformer with the keyboard dock.

  8. JimHirshfield

    Bigger pie as more and less costly options enter the market <—was my first thought…and I’m stickin’ with it.

  9. Brian Model

    if the price is low enough, expect the mini ipad to change this yet again. the iOS ecosystem is so huge, and ecosystem + price is largely what drives the kindle fire.

  10. Fred, from the tone of your post you seem to think there’s a large group of consumer “moving” from iPad to Android. I’d be surprised if this were true. A more likely explanation is huge market growth from the bottom. You can buy android tablets with pocket money these days!

    1. @FakeBradFeld

      Probably once people realize how they use their iPad they opt for a 2nd or 3rd tablet in the form of Android to watch Netflix, check mail, etc. It is a consumption device and iPad is expensive for these uses, I think.

    2. leigh

      good point

  11. laurie kalmanson

    a smaller share of a much larger total? having all the pie when it’s a small pie is different from having a big piece of a much bigger pie.if people in emergent economies start with smaller/cheaper, will the smaller/cheaper get fancier/more costly as the economies grow …i saw a vintage honda in a parking lot the other day and i was amazed; it was the living incarnation of how a small, underpriced/underpowered bottom entry can carve out / disrupt / reshape the market from belowif smaller cheaper tablets get people into the market that wouldn’t be in otherwise, what happens later?

    1. fredwilson

      clayton christensen!!!!!!

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Exactly. Scale kills.

  12. RichardF

    In the UK as a Samsung 10.1 owner I was hugely in the minority but the Nexus 7 has become a huge success over here and I’m hearing alot of discussions from people about whether to go for a nexus 7 or a Kindle Fire.Having said I have a small consumer site as a side project and the overwhelming (about 90%) number of tablet visitors are on iPad.I think that will change rapidly. Unless Apple get a mini out very quickly and at the right price.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      I think we will look back at these times with incredulity – that people paid ~$500 for a tablet, because of the logo.Then again, I saw some research recently – can’t recall source but was credible from what I recall – that stated many USA households spend more per month on phone/’net bills than they do on food. No doubt will apply to many in Europe/RoW, also.Nero would be proud.

      1. RichardF

        I can imagine that’s true in the UK too Carl if you throw in Sky, which seems to be indispensable in a large number of households.

      2. jason wright

        LTE might be a game changer.

      3. fredwilson

        great comment. incredulity is correct

      4. Pete Griffiths

        US internet costs are WAY higher than in other industrialized countries.

      5. ShanaC

        we also have crappier produce. which annoys me to no end.

      6. JLM

        .Of course, look at the price of freemium and hardware. It is incredible.I paid a lot of $$$ for my first cell phone. A Motorola Brick.Today, I consider it an incidental.We are getting way, way, way spoiled..

      7. raycote

        To be fair you get a little more than just the logo ?

  13. John Revay

    Might come down toA. Form factor (size) & Price – (Nexus 7 – sub $200)B. People who choose not to use an iPhone

  14. William Mougayar

    WAIT A MINUTE…What is the source of that market share number? I don’t see it anywhere in the original article. Forbes should have referenced it. Shameful. It’s a questionable number that may not be correct.According to IDC, Apple’s share is 68.2% as of Q2/2012 with 17 million sold per quarter, and ABI Research gives them 69%. These are the links to this documented research:http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jhttp://www.storagelook.com/…Yes, Apple’s share has fallen in net percentage terms, but this is expected in a market that is growing at 70%+ per year. No one can maintain a market share of 81% unless it’s a monopoly. To put things in perspective, 17 million units was the total market in 2010 whereas Apple sold that many in Q2 2012 alone.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      I’m assuming the data comes from “the latest survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism” they link. If not, I agree, shameful.

      1. William Mougayar

        It is not clear if the market share number came from PEW or not. The main topic of the story was about reading news on tablets which is PEW’s area of research. It seemed it was survey based, not real market data.

    2. Benedict Evans

      IDC, ABI and Pew are all providing estimates. None of them are ‘correct’ – only Apple, Google and Amazon combined know the ‘correct’ data.

      1. William Mougayar

        IDC and ABI are not to be compared with PEW. IDC and ABI conduct real market research. They get the numbers from the manufacturers and aggregate them. I trust their numbers.PEW’s is survey-based it seems. It represents a sample, but it doesn’t seem to be accurate.

        1. Benedict Evans

          Maybe, maybe not. Does Amazon give them Kindle sales data? I rather doubt it.

          1. Fernando Gutierrez

            Not in a consistent way. The just drop a number here and there.

        2. ShanaC

          pew does fairly accurate surveys in a variety of categories that hold up 20-30 years later, Just because it is a survey doesn’t mean bad data

          1. William Mougayar

            I think their context was News reading. Yes, they are reputable of course, but I’m not sure that true market share conclusions can be derived from this survey. At best, we could say that it pertains the News reading segment.

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Having worked with IDC in the past I’d be very surprised if they were wide of the mark, though. I have no experience of either ABI or Pew, however.

    3. laurie kalmanson


    4. kenberger

      I agree that the numbers are suspect, from this or most any report coming out lately. And there are so many ways to measure the figures, how about the zillions of super cheap versions in China? i’ve seen those number over- and under-represented. but no one simply says “we don’t really know with any precision”.

    5. Elia Freedman

      Agreed, William. The Kindle numbers are particularly suspect as Amazon has never announced Kindle Fire sales. Furthermore, Kindle Fire is US (and a little UK) only.The nicest of the Android tablets has been the Nexus 7, but the Nexus 7 has very limited distribution. You’d pretty much have to be a tech-nerd to even know about the thing. (And yes, I have one here along with a 10″ Samsung Tab and a number of iPads.)

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        it is interesting that Google is not heavily promoting their nexus tablet. It is very similar strategy to their galaxy nexus phone. I personally think that the 7″ Nexus tablet is the best in its class in the market but I agree that not many people have heard of it (based on qualitative evidence)

        1. fredwilson

          yes, it is the best

    6. Elia Freedman

      For what it is worth, the software developers I talk to who have done most are seeing sales 10:1 on iPad. (That’s for paid productivity-style apps.)

      1. ErikSchwartz

        I suspect that people who buy a kindle Fire are buying them almost exclusively as media consumption devices and don’t buy many “paid productivity-style apps”

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          In fact, most of them won’t work on a Kindle Fire.

        2. William Mougayar

          That’s a good distinction.

        3. Carl Rahn Griffith

          I find most of the time I return to good content – not apps, most are redundant once novelty wears off, quickly. Trouble is, finding decent content(!).

    7. Nick Perrett

      If you read the article again, you’ll see a link to the original study by Pew. In it you’ll find a reference to the stat coming from a consumer survey of 2,013 tablet users. Devil, as always, is i the detail.

      1. William Mougayar

        Thanks for pointing this out as it wasn’t obvious right away. But that sample size was too small anyways.

  15. kidmercury

    not surprised. apple is a hits business. they move quickly and open up new markets but their whole approach (high prices, control freak) is not well-suited for sustained dominance in a market….so they need to move elsewhere. even if the numbers are wrong, apple’s market share will only continue to decline as the market grows.what i think is important is amazon’s success here. i believe others will copy amazon to create their own hardware designed to play in their app/media ecosystem, and that others will fork android as well.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      What do you think the impact is in a post-Steve Jobs era? To me, and others I talk to, Apple is becoming just another company, now – now that the enigma of Jobs is gone. Interesting implications.

      1. Elia Freedman

        Their stock price, excluding the past week, hasn’t shown that at all.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Absolutely, but I wonder how long it was retain the Jobs lustre for?

          1. Elia Freedman

            I think it would have bombed very quickly post Jobs. The market tends to overreact, in my opinion, and Jobs dying was a very good reason to give up on the stock. Instead ot has gained ~75% since his passing a year ago. The company can make a fortune at 20% market share. That’s 1 billion smartphones and a ton of iPads with about 200M iPhones sold to date.

          2. JLM

            .That’s the thing, they are becoming the gold standard in a MARKET that is exploding.They are milking the market with a suite of products.I want to hate them but I have learned to love and respect them. Easy virtue, not really..

          3. Elia Freedman

            You are so right. If you think it is hard as an outsider, you should try relying on the App Store to make a living!

    2. Pete Griffiths

      I agree but the challenge of course is not the fork or development of the device but of the supporting ecosystem. In its simplest form the question might be posed – who already has countless millions of credit cards on file?

  16. Kevin Turner

    Unfortunately, the iPad Mini is going to be a HUGE product.

    1. markslater

      yes it is

    2. fredwilson

      why unfortunately. the 7″ form factor is awesome

    3. jason wright

      I thought the ipad was huge and the mini solves that problem.

    4. Pete Griffiths

      I don’t get it. What would be unfortunate about that?

  17. tomwatson

    Yeah, we’re all on Kindles – it’s the Amazon ecosystem, which far surpasses anything Apple has…or quite frankly, will ever have. And it’s DRM is always much looser than Apples – or at least it feels that way.Plus the Kindles are an extension of Amazon Prime – which is the great undertold story of Internet commerce. Quite frankly, Prime rocks – and it’s great for a family.Then there’s price – I can buy 5 kindles for $1,000 and everyone in the family has ’em. Or two stripped down iPads. The Kindles are lighter, fit in one hand, and feel like appliances designed for convenience – not objects of design in and of themselves. That works better for us. You frag a Kindle, and you’re out $199 (and free delivery!) for a new one in 2-3 days on Prime. That matters.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a great description of the kindle value prop Tom. thanks for stopping by and posting that. i tried Kindle Fire and still have one, but i’ve moved to Nexus 7 because its a clean build of Android and it feels better to me. but i understand why Kindle feels better to you and your family

      1. tomwatson

        Thanks Fred. Media is the market – at least to me.My closet’s full of hardware, but I’ve still got – and use – software from the 70s. (Music, books etc). Get me to the media easily and at a fair price and you can keep your nifty bezel.We’re probably going to upgrade to Kindle Fire HDs for 2013, based on the great reviews.

        1. Semil Shah

          Hey Tom, you may be interested in some pieces of this post I recently wrote about Amazon’s future — the possibilities for their device ecosystem are BIG: http://techcrunch.com/2012/

          1. michaelbigger

            Great post Semil.

        2. fredwilson

          media is critical to me toobut i have the kindle app on the Nexus 7for music, i stream everything so i am device agnosticfor video, i use HBO Go, Netflix, and YouTube.i can get all of my media on the Nexus 7. i don’t believe in file based media. i believe it will all be in the cloud and streamed real time to your device.only books is really not there yet. and our investment in wattpad is changing that

          1. Terry J. Leach

            That’s how I plan to use the Nexus 7 and why I passed on the Kindle, even if I have a Amazon Prime account.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      This is a succinct statement of the Amazon value proposition – a low cost media consumption device with a mature content ecosystem and one click purchasing.

    3. ShanaC

      Ipads feel closer to computers though.

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        True but the iPads are more competing for entry level laptops. They are great for consuming info but not as mobile as the 7″

        1. ShanaC

          so then why are we comparing the two

          1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            In my mind – I stopped comparing iPad with Nexus7. I believe they are for different uses. I much prefer to compare the iPad with MacBoo air as this is where I need to make a decision.

      2. JLM

        .Convergence — phones are growing into tablets and computers are shrinking into tablets.I love my Nexus 7.BTW, your recent post was fabulous. Very well played! Thanks..

        1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

          I do wonder how much bigger smart phones can get before they are borderline tablet. Personally, I still want a smart phone that comfortably fits in my pant’s pocket (this might not be as much of an issue for women)

        2. ShanaC

          thank you. it was fun to do, maybe I’ll get fred to let me do this once a year.For the record I see this as tension between convergence and divergence. People want specificity and generality at the same time. Continual cycle.

      3. takingpitches

        Yep — I love my iPad as a replacement for much of my laptop use at home, and to take on travel since it does not need to be pulled out of the bag for TSA eyes. One less irritation at the airport.I love my basic Kindle for the subway; because an iPad is just too awkward to hold and “straphang.” One great thing about the Kindle ecosystem, which I recently discovered, for someone who grow up as a product of the public library system, is that you can borrow e-books, which has brought me back to that system after many years of absence.And I love my selection of Amazon Prime to watch on my IPad. I cancelled my Netflix, because I just found the lack of content frustrating when paying for a content streaming service, but I view anything I get from Prime as a bonus because the $79 or whatever we pay is worth it for the 2 day shipping alone. I’ve been watching Sons of Anarchy lately 🙂

      4. Techman

        Not really. I have never compared iOS to a real PC operating system. In my opinion, no tablet can replace the PC. I type too fast to try using an OSK on a tablet.

        1. ShanaC

          But most of what you do on a PC isn’t type anymore. They’re slightly too heavyweight

      5. CJ

        I have to disagree. I’m holding out for a Windows 8 tablet. That combined with a Nexus 7.

    4. michaelbigger

      Same here Tom. Family of 4, all on the Kindle ecosystem.

    5. Terry J. Leach

      Interesting! What this could mean it’s not the hardware anymore it’s all about services. I know Amazon, because I’ve had an Amazon Prime account for years. Service and form factor matter, you can do stuff with the Kindle, where as with the iPad is not as much a “consumer device” because of the price and the form.

  18. falicon

    If there’s a down side to Apple’s business approach, it’s that as a consumer you’re basically all-in or all-out…if you don’t want to pay the premium for the computer, you aren’t likely going to pay it for the phone or the tablet either.So they are right that people want a consistent experience and compatibility across devices…and they are still in the premium slot I think (which I think means by definition the majority of the market eventually isn’t going to be owned by them)

    1. Max Yoder

      You bet. Apple hasn’t appeared to care about volume, because they have untouchable margins.iCloud and the App Store will keep me from buying any non-compatible devices. And even if those didn’t exist, I’d still be locked in with Logic and Final Cut.

    2. Pete Griffiths


    3. ShanaC

      not true. As their laptops become more of a commodity product (already happening with their push into development and to campuses) they’ll be forced to integrate with others

  19. mcprs

    i don’t know if you literally meant “the rest of the world,” but fwiw the survey is US only. i don’t have a source readily available, but I thought the ipad commanded a much larger market share globally. in addition, i don’t think amazon’s prime ecosystem is as strong outside of the US , so I wonder what international kindle fire sales look like.

  20. Chris Phenner

    Two thoughts related to Fred’s reaction to this news:1. How does a former board member of (and current subscriber to) comScore get ‘surprised’ by market data like this — it makes me think the measurement problem is bigger than I expected. It also makes me think that with a sample of n=9,500-ish, the Pew Center folks may have accidentally selected an Android-heavy bunch.2. Perhaps the harbinger moment was Marco Arment’s launch of an Android version of Instapaper. His wonky acknowledgment of Kindle’s success (as his motivation for ‘caving’) was almost painful to read — talk about what they call ‘escalation of commitment’ once you’ve made a decision 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      i was surprised if it was right. apparently it isn’t

    2. Pete Griffiths

      There may indeed by all kinds of erros in the study but isn’t an appropriately designed sample size of 9,500 sufficient? It’s been a long time since I studied small sample theory but it sounds adequate.

  21. kenberger

    ok, now I’ve actually read the article and can comment: the stats are “based on interviews with 9,513 U.S. adults” ?!Hardly “rest of the world”, Fred! Plus, there’s a bad selection bias, given that it’s a survey (as someone else said). I too would be excited to see Android 7″ tab ascendency (as you’ve seen me evangelize that platform for so long), but this is rubbish.The author/Forbes do not deserve the traffic you are driving to them today.

    1. Cam MacRae

      Bad selection bias, eh? I’m not seeing it. Although their sampling plan isn’t 100% clear from the report, it looks like SRS and they quote sampling error at 95%, both of which are encouraging signs that there isn’t a bad selection bias.Edit: Found the sampling plan. There’s nothing in it that alters my opinion that this is a well conceived survey (although their stratification strategy is interesting). http://www.journalism.org/a

      1. kenberger

        I mean the fact that it’s a survey at all.I’d put “people that would submit to a Fortune survey” in a group that generally doesn’t reflect the public at large, and certainly not the “rest of the world” if RoW is taken literally.

        1. Cam MacRae

          A survey is a perfectly valid means of statistical inference. That the media and/or PRs package the results without even a nod to uncertainty is the only enduring problem with properly run surveys.It wasn’t a Fortune survey. It wasn’t even a Forbes survey. The survey itself was run by a market research company.I’d concede your point on rest of the world if they hadn’t made it abundantly clear their numbers were representative of adults in the United States.

          1. kenberger

            i’m upvoting your comment because i appreciate your counter-argument re survey science.

          2. Cam MacRae

            Cheers. Lies, damn lies, and statistics etc..

      2. leigh


      3. ShanaC

        thank you cam.

    2. fredwilson

      ugh. that’s the answer i was looking for. thanks Ken

      1. LE

        As I said in my previous comment:”That’s the great thing about reporting findings and using numbers. You can use the numbers say almost anything you want to prove the point you are trying to make.”

  22. Richard

    Units / yr sold is one thing …Hours  /yr powered up  is another.  Does price correlate with useage? Now thats a marketing  number worth knowing. 

    1. Max Yoder

      I’d suspect that there’s a stronger correlation between price and usage with hardware purchases, as opposed to software purchases. I’d be interested to know for sure, though.

      1. Richard

        I think it was steve jobs who said that the line between software and hardware has been erased. The value of either softwafe/hardware is engagment.

        1. Max Yoder

          I’m locked into Apple because of its software. I’d happily use a different set of rounded rectangles if they were able to sync with iCloud, run my apps, and allow me to use Final Cut and Logic, while maintaining a dependable level of computing power.

          1. Dale Allyn

            I also value the fit and finish of Apple products. Yes, they are more expensive (in some cases), but I’m willing to pay for milled metal and glass, or elegantly fitted things. It’s a pleasure to use quality products and I’m willing to pay for them.That’s not to say that I won’t or don’t use products from other makers. Sometimes Apple gets it wrong for me (I want form to follow function), like monitors. For some of my work Apple displays are inadequate so I use NEC displays so that I can properly hardware calibrate them. They’re ugly, but for my needs Apple’s displays suck.Overall though, Apple provides a better experience for me.

          2. Max Yoder

            I feel the same way about the monitors.

      2. ShanaC

        No. My clock radio (small level of hardware here) is heavily in use.

        1. Max Yoder

          That’s fair, and we could split hairs on this one, but I’m more interested in the broad trends than the anecdotes. Though I’m sure it’s not easy to quantify the information I’m looking for.

          1. ShanaC

            No, just like it is not easy to say what is a computer these days (since chips seem to be everywhere)

        2. Richard

          There is a difference betwen being powered up and being powered up and used. Tablets, like phones, i would think would be essentially free given a better busienss model.

    2. JamesHRH

      great point

  23. Elia Freedman

    So I have both 10″ tablets (Samsung, iPad) and 7″ tablet (Nexus 7) here. For those who have tried both, which size do you prefer and what do you do with it?The 7″ seems perfect for reading but I do a lot of work on mine so the 10″ iPad is my preferred device. For book reading I’ve preferred the Kindle Touch as it is focusing, the battery lasts forever, and I can carry tons of them at the same time. (I have a Kindle Paperwhite coming tomorrow.)

    1. Pravin J

      You seem to be a gadget lover 🙂

      1. Elia Freedman

        I write software for both platforms and read a lot.

    2. fredwilson

      i prefer the 7″ for working and reading

    3. Pete Griffiths

      I think there is a VERY important point here. If I may generalize it.Imho we are very early in the development of smartphones, phablets, tablets and ultra thin laptops (let alone other devices such as smartwatches etc) and it is still way too early to believe we have reached the ‘final’ ideal form factors.a) Different form factors seem to lend themselves better to certain activities, as suggested in the post, but we are still learning about this and as we develop better data it is very possible that the devices will further evolve by form factor to optimize the preferred experience.b) imho it is extremely likely that Elia is not a ‘gadget lover’ so much as a forerunner in the sense that it is very likely that the overwhelming majority of people will end up with many devices which they use in ‘horses for courses’ mode. These devices are becoming so light that it will be common to carry around multiple devices.b) The massive growth of smartphones in China (for example) is of secular importance but imho it doesn’t mean that ‘the future is mobile’ (whatever that means). It just means that the preferred entry level form factor in this market is the phone. I find the idea that Chinese people will end up doing everything on their phones implausible so we can expect massive market opportunity for other categories of connected devices in China – and yes – price will matter.

  24. ErikSchwartz

    I’ll posit a theory. Apple jumps to an early lead in new markets where other people have failed in the past because consumers trusted Steve Jobs. Once the market is established existing competitors are noticed and the ones with products that are better than Apple’s products do very well.The current Apple team’s product releases is quickly eroding that trust base.

    1. LE

      “Once the market is established existing competitors are noticed and the ones with products that are better than Apple’s products do very well.””Apple jumps to an early lead in new markets where other people have failed in the past because consumers trusted Steve Jobs.”Well that’s a recent phenomena. I wouldn’t say the masses trusted Steve when he came back in the 90’s which was supposed to be temporary.”the ones with products that are better than Apple’s products do very well.”Well certainly not in music players. And the iphone is doing quite well even if there is competition. And the Mac Portable(s) are light years ahead in adoption then they were years ago. It’s more popular than it ever was. People want one and Apple retail stores that I’ve visited are packed during the majority of working hours.”The current Apple team’s product releases is quickly eroding that trust base.”Totally blown out of proportion by the media. The first iphone didn’t even have a way to cut and paste and lacked many features that were added later. And it still sold well. The product lived up to the hype. I was traveling overseas the day after it was released with one and was practically assaulted by everyone who saw me with it. So much that I decided not to buy an ipad when it first came out (ptsd).The Maps thing was a big fuckup to be sure. No doubt about that. But that’s something that can and will be fixed. In no way is that a product killer. It’s software. The only reason people are whining about that is that they need to whine about something to take shots at Apple.Remember “Candle in the Wind”? All the press had to say was that Marilyn was found in the nude.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        I do not think maps is easily fixed. It’s also not something you fix once and it’s done and then you can leave it alone. The map problem is a data problem not an application problem.Apple is not in its DNA a data curation company.

        1. LE

          Apple has a ton of cash and resources and knows the problem that needs to be fixed. (And this is not the same as Microsoft trying to up google in search by using cash.)

          1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            There is an interesting article in RWW re-igniting the idea that Apple should buy foursquare (http://www.readwriteweb.com…. I especially liked William Mougayar’s comment over there

        2. raycote

          Map-Data curation first requires “Big-Data” ownership then you can start improving and curating that “Big-Data-Set”.Apple had to start down that road sooner than latter!Edit:Open source publicly owned map-data would be better for all concerned!

  25. angoodkind

    To me, so much of the iPhone’s success lies in it being a status symbol. We (very frequently) use our phones in public, so the status symbol aspect becomes very important. On the other hand, we use tablets much more frequently in the privacy of our homes or offices, making the “status symbol” aspect less important.

    1. Elia Freedman

      Most of us use an iPhone because the stuff we want to do with it just works. Most phones sit in someone’s pocket so the status symbol idea can only explain part of the answer. I prefer its responsiveness, breadth of software offerings, and its lack of fiddlety settings.Plus, all my music is in iTunes so it makes it easy to move stuff onto the devices. This last one works for Amazon and Google, too, if you are bought into their ecosystems.

    2. LE

      “being a status symbol”Something can be a status symbol and also be a good product. While you pay more for a status symbol, the quality is there (even if it is out of proportion to what you are paying for it.)The iphone’s success comes from a variety of factors. I’m sure “status symbol” sold some phones. But a product that sucks is not going to keep selling as iphone does just because it’s a status symbol.

  26. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Funny – when I first heard Clay Christensen talking about disruption with smaller agile manufacturers pushing up-scale product out of the top of markets from the bottom up I simply thought Apple.(*Yay I’ve got a smartphone* – is so last year even for a ten-year old now ) – so Apple has problems and will very soon be facing superior products across the board at much lower prices.And then market will say – “hey – look at him – (or her) thinking its cool because they got far less for so much more money” I have internally disparaging thoughts about Apple owners already – but that’s the linux fan-boy in me !So sure with the financial resources they have they could say dump IT and buy Pepsi or GM instead – but their life at the top of consumer electronics is doomed ! – IM(not so)HO

    1. Elia Freedman

      James, there’s room for high end providers and low end providers. Those in the middle get squeezed. Smaller agile providers don’t push high end providers out of the market simply by being there. They push high end providers out by providing more and more of the functionality provided by the high end. We could debate endlessly whether that could happen to Apple or not, at least in the short-term since anything is possible in the long-term. But Apple’s customer relationship through iTunes will make that very hard.

      1. raycote

        Apples succeeds by providing minimalist hardware/software simplicity for interfacing into abstract social/technical complexity.If the increasing pace of social/technical complexity stalls or if Apple fails to demonstrate that they have a repeatable formula for innovating on the interface-simplicity required to help mere mortals penetrate our new-world frontier of organically complex abstract-spaces then Apple will be done.The question is who are the other top contenders at creating simplified interfacing metaphors to help tame this increasingly abstract social/technical complexity.Google?Amazon?Facebook?Samsung?Maybe but it seems to me that Apple is the only one that has a track record with any repeatability on this front?

        1. Elia Freedman

          I think Google is fundamentally satisfying this as well as Android’s usage model is bifurcated. Some Android users are like Fred, highly capable who love the platform’s openness from a tinkering perspective. Fred can do things with Android that Apple would never allow. But there is a much broader Android client who buys it because it is cheap. They don’t use the browser much, maybe an app or two, but it cost them $50 on contract and they can navigate the basics. To those users, Android is a simplified user interface as well.

    2. fredwilson

      we talked about Apple last night in the Office Hours in my Skillshare class on Sustainability. the question i got was “will Apple be in business forever”. i couldn’t say yes with confidence

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        I wanted to be there – but couldnt make it – The link @LIAD offered is very good though – look forward to another occassion

      2. Pete Griffiths

        I would hope not. The data on organizational survival does not encourage the proposition of ongoing market leadership let alone immortality

      3. LE

        I was watching a few episodes of “Ultimate Factories” last night. Two of the episodes were Caterpillar and John Deere which have been around “forever”.I don’t believe that a company with a limited product line like Apple, in a quickly changing business is likely to be around “forever”. Especially one that caters to the fickleness of consumers and appears to be structured around hit products.

  27. Rob Yoegel

    I wouldn’t be too sure of these stats, at least as it pertains to ecommerce. Take a look at: http://www.slideshare.net/m… (specifically, page 12). We’ve also updated the Q1 release of our Ecommerce Quarterly (EQ) (http://www.monetate.com/eq). As stated in each release of the EQ, this analysis is done based on more than 100 million online shopping sessions of some major retail brands.I’m sure these numbers can vary by demographic and what people are doing using their tablets (i.e., reading versus buying).

  28. Tom Labus

    What about 8 tablets?

  29. spektor

    IMHO. As tablets become more ubiquitous I feel that they’re become less of a status symbol and more of a utilitarian device. For this reason users are drifting away from the expensive, and uber-sexy, iOS devices and towards the less expensive Android based models. The state of the economy is also a contributing factor.

  30. andyidsinga

    speaking about tablets this venture beat posts discusses $35 tablets and that “hardware is dead” http://venturebeat.com/2012… Hardware may be dead in some ways but it lives on in plastic (aka “software in plastic” per @bfeld and @jasonmendelson ). Kindle seems to be a software in plastic and glass approach.

  31. panterosa,

    We are a mac household. For tablet we have iPad and @Pantherkitty, 11yrs old, has a kindle. We, and she, chose to have the stripped version, not kindle fire, because she reads on kindle and plays on iPad. I would love to have her textbooks on Kindle – because she likes using it, and because she wouldn’t have a hugely heavy backpack. But she will have laptop at school for homework.I think the points made here in many threads point to 7″ tablet growth as not all replacement, but add on devices to iPad users. Reading text on iPad is ok, not optimal, but looking at magazines or visual heavy reading is better on iPad, which is more what I do. I do hate the lack of mobile and video from some channels on iPad.

  32. Ahti Kitsik

    iPads have a clear advantage for the musicians. Apps like Garage Band, Native Instruments Machine and IK Multimedia stack is unfortunately available only for the iOS platform. I can understand why Garage Band hasn’t been ported but I’m confused about the others.Maybe because of the hardware to have low-enough latency..

  33. Nick Ambrose

    Market share is one thing, but you also have to take into account the willingness of a population of users to use/download/pay for apps & services.My experience so far is limited. In our case, Phones not tablets and in one Geographical area (a relatively affluent suburb of Los Angeles). Even though we are finding a decent number of Android phone users (about 2:1 iPhone:Android), from what we are seeing so far it’s the iPhone users who are far more interested in being early adopters and trying out new apps and services.So much so, that we had to bring forward our schedule for iPhone app rather rapidly. We will see once we are fully live how those numbers hold up, and it obviously may vary significantly from area to area. For instance, here in Seattle I see relatively few iDevices, a lot of Kindles and a lot of Samsung/Androids…. (both in Tablet and Phone formats)

    1. fredwilson

      paying for apps and services is a temporary phenomenonmobile will behave like the web soon enough

  34. Will Luttrell

    Apple’s share of tablet browser web usage is massive tho.Tablet’s sold != tablets used (for browsing web content anyhow.)

    1. Pete Griffiths

      You mean Kindles?

  35. Michael Yavonditte

    Since the first time I picked up an iPad I felt that a smaller version could become the primary computing device of the future. I still believe this is possible. And I guess there’s good news for Apple competitors. Users may be attracted to a range of devices that are put into the marketplace. I think that’s a good thing.Selfishly I am also obsessing about how publishers might “monetize” these new screens. Simply porting their normal site (like they do with a 10″ tablet) may not work anymore, so they are going to have to rethink the interface, which means they are going to have to rethink monetization.

    1. LE

      I don’t think it was a “boating accident” [1] that Apple started with a large screen. I think it was a red herring actually meant to exploit an advantage they had, test the market, and lead others to explore a different strategy which they can always follow later.[1] Scene in Jaws where Richard Dreyfuss takes a look at the shark victim that the local doctor, in order to quell fear among townspeople, tried to claim was hurt in a boating accident.

    2. ShanaC

      delivery is also an issue with publisher monetization. Tracking is very data transfer heavy and therefore battery draining over time on a mobile connection.

    3. fredwilson

      bring it on!!!!!!!!

    4. William Mougayar

      bring it on!!!!!!! 🙂

  36. Michael L. Slonecker

    Apple is a “company” that makes tablets and has a healthy share of the tablet market.Android is an “operating system” that is used by various companies to “run” the tablets they each manufacture.Isn’t a more accurate comparison of market share that associated with tablet manufacturers, and not an Apple product vs. an operating system?

    1. Pete Griffiths

      In practice I don’t think so. This situation is no different from measures of market share of PCs – Wintel vs Macs.

      1. Michael L. Slonecker

        From Microsoft’s perspective (I am ignoring Linux as its use is relatively “noise” level among OS’s) it is happy with about 90% of all personal computers using its operating system(s). After all, it sells software as its major product. But here I am talking about hardware manufacturers. About 1 in 10 personal computers sold in the US is an Apple product, and the other 9 are sold by any number of other hardware manufacturers (Dell, Gateway, ASUS, HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Sony, LG, Vizio, etc., etc.). When I talk market share I am referring to sales by hardware manufacturers.

    2. LE

      “Isn’t a more accurate comparison of market share that associated with tablet manufacturers”That’s the great thing about reporting findings and using numbers. You can use the numbers say almost anything you want to prove the point you are trying to make.We are living in a world where traditional media, with a straight face, says things like “it’s harder to get into YC then Harvard”. Or “harder to get a Thiel fellowship than…”.

    3. JLM

      .Brilliant comment, well played!.

    4. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      I agree. This is probably one major reason Google does not heavily promote either its Galaxy Nexus phone or Nexus 7 tablet (compared to Samsaung, HTC, Asus, etc..)

    5. William Mougayar

      Yes. That’s Exactly what IDC did in that report I linked to.

    6. fredwilson

      the OS is what matters because that is what the developer has to build to

  37. Pete Griffiths

    I’m not remotely surprised by it. Tablets are simply following the same pattern as smartphones. Imho android will overtake iOS on tablets much faster than the pundits imagine.The key point is that whilst a new device (smartphone, tablet) starts with a flurry of innovation this levels off because there is only so much innovation that can be put in place that truly adds value to the user. Of course, in the innovators desire to maintain momentum, they will doubtless continue to add features but these are typically of diminishing value to the user no matter how they may be trumpeted e.g. Siri. And as the core functionality stabilizes the fast followers can truly catch up. In the case of smartphones and tablets this process is speeded by the fact that android is developed by Google and Google is both incredibly wealthy and a superb engineering organization. Unless Apple uncovers a staggering new innovation for tablets Google is going to be at parity v soon at the device level.The real challenge is the reproduction not of the core device functionality but of the ecosystem of which the device is the front end. Very few companies can be full stack players in this space. The challenge for Android tablets is that right now Amazon and to a lesser degree (for now) Google are the only full stack players. The missing potential guest at the party is Samsung – they have the best hardware but still pretty much compete at the device level. If Samsung manages to build an ecosystem they will be an interesting competitor and will further speed the development of the Android tablet market.

    1. raycote

      Siri is an interface revolution.If it can be perfected and expanded it will be a game changer for Apple.Will Google fast follow or led ?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Interesting, I blogged this (below) yesterday whist pondering Siri and our platform obsessions/etc…http://carl-rahn-griffith.t…I believe the true game-changer is the ubiquity of the ‘net via WiFi and the overall standard of content improving – as long as you have a display in your hand, who cares what the brand or OS is? We have become way too obsessed with such minutiae – crap content is crap whether it’s being served up on an Android/Kindle or iPad – similarly, great content is great regardless of the device being used to access it – or create it.Apps? I wonder, sometimes… I seem to have gone full circle and in fact spend more time searching out great content which is pretty much always on a good old fashioned web page. Ironic.This is where we should be focused, I feel.

    2. fredwilson

      great comment, as usual

  38. ShanaC

    No. And I am sure after the Nexus is in wide release, you’ll see a pickup in cheap tablets.Repeat of the Iphone -> Android Phone thing. Same fragment and app problems though. Same really low end models for tablets will pop up soon too.OTOH, Google is cracking down on Android use with the word, “Google” in the ad. So tablets may have better builds than the phones.

  39. Manpreet Singh

    Sales is one thing, but usage is another. Here’s another study claiming that 98% of web browsing among tablets happens on an iPad:http://appleinsider.com/art

    1. fredwilson

      i think for this blog, tablet reading is 70-80% iPad 20-30% Android. but its hard to tell from Google Analytics because they only give device names and i can’t just say “give me tablet OS share”

      1. William Mougayar

        That’s a good insight. We can deduct the OS from the device type.

  40. LE

    A year ago, the iPad accounted for 81% of tablets in circulation. That has fallen to 52%, with Android-based tablets grabbing a 48% share of the marketWell obviously (and I’m sure w/o reading any other comments below that someone has already pointed this out) there was less competition then so the drop in market share is to be expected.That said, Apple is a much stronger brand than “android” which is spread among multiple players each with really crappy naming and identity. With the exception of Amazon Kindle which appears to have followed Apple’s example. (Go to the amazon home page and you will see how they display the kindle front and center with three choices).Anyway if you go to amazon.com and search for “android tablet” you get a clusterfuck of to many confusing options and choices.Instant paralysis.And although I haven’t been in a best buy lately I’m sure also it’s the same thing.Apple has a big advantage as well (which they didn’t have at the dawn of the PC era in the early 80’s) in that the actual decision makers at companies are most likely to personally have a good feeling toward Apple products and/or observe their children and others fawning over the brand.If someone wants a tablet they can easily wrap their hands around the Apple offerings. With Android and all the players out there there is an overload of information to consider in terms of making a decision to purchase. (Divide and conquer).

  41. AndrewGM

    Wait till the mini-iPad comes out. A chunk of market share will go back to Apple. I have an original iPad and an 8GB Nexus 7 and find the Android OS, both functionally and visually, to be inferior to iOS. Android is not terrible, but iOS is just easier to use, better-looking, and has better apps. My Nexus 7 tablet sits unused, and I will try to sell it (8GB). BTW, I’m not a true Apple fan, as I use a PC at home and work.

    1. Jared K

      Ill buy it for $100

    2. fredwilson

      i use an android phone so i prefer the android tablets by a long shoti am sure if i used an iphone i would prefer the ipad

  42. griggle

    It comes down to barrier of entry, specifically: price. $100-$200 an average family can come up with without too much trouble by slashing the budget here or there. Get up to $300+ and most families have to save (or wait for tax returns). Hitting the $500 mark makes it a major purchase with consequences that effect multiple months and needs to be shared by everyone. Look at why people are stuck on contract phones that are all priced sub $200 even though they cost much more in the long term. The Video Game industry has seen this for a while, what happens when the consoles prices are too high, or significantlly higher than the competition: sales lag. If Apple releases a 7inch at under $200 they can grab a lot of that share back, go to $299 and the numbers will keep going away from them.

    1. fredwilson


    1. fredwilson

      nobody does in this comment thread. i got the answer i was looking for by posting it!

  43. Matthew Collins

    I’m pretty sure Kindle Fire runs on Android — a forked version of Android, so maybe that still validates your point.I keep wanting to go over to Android devices in general (handheld and tablet). Perhaps this latest move with Apple maps will be the final catalyst as now I won’t upgrade my phone to the latest version of iOS

  44. PrasannaKrishnamoorthy

    Outside the US – in India, we’re now getting 7″ Android tablets starting at 75$. They are nearly impulse buys. Apple at $500+ is for the truly rich. Everyone else just goes Android. I’d say it’ll be 80%+ Android if not 90%+ soon.

    1. fredwilson


  45. tylernol

    there is no tablet market. There is only the iPad market. the Kindle Fire was a sales failure, but Amazon spun it nicely for the press. That 7″ niche that these Android tablets are surviving in will soon be taken by Apple in ~8 days.

    1. fredwilson

      keep your head in the sand if you want. that is so not true. particularly outside of the US

      1. tylernol

        didnt you have a article from a few years ago claiming that Android would be the dominant platform for startups soon? I think that timeline you indicated has past. Do any of your startups target Android first or Android exclusively? Perusing the USV website it still appears to be iOS targeted first. “Brewster” for example. And do any of your startups target 3rd world countries first, or at all? So my head is definitely not in the sand.If it is, then so is your portfolio’s. For a resource-constrained startup, targeting a fragmented(and getting more and more fragmented) platform like Android is quite an undertaking. Advising a startup to target Android first is still foolhardy. Target iOS first, and then when you get much more successful, cross platforms to Android. It was true 3 years ago, still true now, and will be for several more years at least. At that point , the hardware vendors tired of being commodified by Android may have moved on to something else. Windows for example..

        1. fredwilson

          they have their head in the sand too unfortunately

          1. tylernol

            ha! well they are probably being pragmatic.

  46. Micah Baldwin

    Obviously we are skewed in our thinking. (kinda a self promo–but don’t know how to bring this up without it) — at Graphicly, we are working closely with the marketplaces (Apple, Kindle, BN, etc.) and more than 4,000 publishers to distribute their books. There has been a clear adjustment to the energy the non-Apple marketplaces have been putting behind books in the past several months. It can only be tied to a marketed growth in reading usage patterns. Couple that with the explosion in the ebook market (on pace to hit $4B+ in sales this year — Random House announced that ~23% of their sales were driven by digital), you have a perfect storm.Completely not-surprising.

  47. Dan Gordon

    Why did your family switch to Android tablets?

    1. fredwilson

      7″ form factorCostWe prefer android OS to iOS

  48. Brandon Marker

    …Galaxy S4 will officially be my transition to Droid. What a glorious day it will be…

  49. trefalga

    This is not surprising at all. I don’t know how anyone, including Apple, believes that Apple can dominate the market with a closed business model. It’s impossible. Additionally, the network effects of Android now activating 3 devices for every 1 iOS device are enormous. Short of continued innovation with new products in new markets to offset this, I believe Apple will eventually decline back to holding a 10-15% share.

  50. JLM

    .Admission — The Fred was my enabler and guru on the step into the Nexus 7.Here’s the deal — it is pocket sized. I carry it in my front khaki pockets and my back jeans pockets.Mobile is pocket sized.I use Bluetooth for Skype and VOIP.I am slowly but surely becoming a nerd. I use it for everything.How did I ever exist before the Nexus 7 and The Fred. And, of course, all of ya’ll, right?TX v WVa this weekend. What a big game..

    1. fredwilson

      Go LonghornsIf I turned you into a nerd then I have done God’s work 😉

  51. Carlos

    I think the tablet market is much more fragmented than the cell phone market. You don’t really need more than one cell phone, but you can have as many tablets as the specific uses are. In this sense, I think the iPad will continue to dominate its niche, but others specific tablets will arise. The kindle is a perfect example of this happening.

  52. Mason Sexton

    At the iPhone5 unveiling Tim Cook mentioned that 91% of all tablet web traffic is on the iPad. Could it be that while the kindle fire may be used more as a dedicated e-reader, the iPad is being used in lieu of desktops/laptops? That wouldn’t totally explain the lack of browsing on other Android-based tablets though.This reminds me of when cell phone manufacturers used to stuff the retail channel with a lot of inventory of a specific model, yet cell phone activations for that model would be much lower than the cited sales number. Not saying that’s happening here but it does seem odd that Android utilization rates on tablets appears lower much lower than the iPad.All of that said, I do think the 7 inch iPad mini will be a killer product. Consensus seems to be that it’s the perfect combination of screen real estate and portability. I know when given the choice for late night reading, I often grab my kindle over iPad jsut so I can hold it in one hand.

  53. howardlindzon

    when NERF gets into the tablet space I will finally get bearish on the whole shebang.

  54. johndefi

    Affordability and form factor I think are major contributors and have been mentioned consistently. In addition, there could also be an I-use-an-Android-phone-so-I-also-want-an-Android-tablet sentiment happening.

  55. Techman

    I’ve never used an Android tablet. Perhaps I could review one if my site ever gets big enough. I recently migrated to a new domain name if anyone has noticed or not.

  56. sean rose

    How many total tablets were in circulation last year vs. this year? It’s likely to have increased. iPads definitely do not appeal to the low end of the economic scale, and you also have to control for second tablets purchased. (This is all conjecture, but I think a closer look at the data is warranted).

  57. ted debiase

    when will they release the unskewed version of this poll?

  58. philmang

    The big missing piece to this stat set is the total number of kindles in circulation, both those that are more “tablet like” such as the Fire and those that are “just” readers. And an inclusion of the number of multi-device households. As well as the trends.The trends of reader/tablet usage including upgrades from older kindles to Fires, dual tablet/kindle usage, etc would be much more enlightening than just raw numbers in such a diverse usage pattern category.

  59. Carl Rahn Griffith

    I am intrigued by the demographic reach (and thus, potential) of the Kindle – more so than any other device, by the sheer definition of its type of user. If looking at the long game, which is a Bezos trademark, well, wow…

  60. Phil M

    I can’t wait to see how Windows 8 affects the tablet market. In terms of media ecosystems, it will likely be the platform of choice for those who prefer “alternative” ways of consuming content, if you know what I’m saying… Also, having the full desktop accessible on a tablet will make it a true laptop replacement. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the surface just looks badass.

  61. OurielOhayon

    Fred this is pre iPad mini data. Let s see how this evolves after because it is quite obvious you can’t compare a 400$ device market share with a 200$. Right?

    1. fredwilson

      commented on it just now. man i love disqus

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Cool, cheers!I can’t believe I wasn’t au fait with Wattpad – checking it out now! 🙂

  62. Chase

    Can you really look at Android’s 52% market share the same as Apple’s? If I’m not mistaken, there is no compatibility between each OEM’s version of the Android O/S such that an app running on Kindle & Nook (both running on Android) aren’t compatible with one another.This is why most folks build on Apple first and Android second (the economic model on Android is broken – doesn;t scale). The numbers spell this out with the # of downloads as well as the revenue generated on each O/S.I guess it all depends on the objectives of the developers.

  63. Terry J. Leach

    I’m not surprise that Android tablets are eating away at the iPad and overall marketshare of the tablet market. We have an iPad, which to our surprise is use more by my now 2 year old daughter. She began using it to watch kids tv shows such as Dora the Explorer on Netflix. The form factor really works for her, but I’m going to purchase a Nexus 7 because it’s size, speed and utility is much better than the Kindle.

  64. ashyadav

    I noticed recently that my book reading had gone down considerably since I bought an IPAD with a mobile connection. I have been using Reeder / Flipboard / Zite / Tweetbot / Sparrow / Podcasts / CineXPlayer while commuting between NYC and NJ.In the past 2 weeks I started carrrying my kindle (3rd gen) with me to start reading again. REad the excellent Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez and noww onto The Hobbit. The kindles with their lighter weight area better form factor for reading while commuting and in bed. Has anyone else had a similar experience or am I an outlier Use Case. It seems to me that a 7″ LTE device would be a perfect fit for a convergence device on the go. Since Google and Amazon have shied away from putting in mobile connectivity to keep the costs low. Apple may have a niche to dominate with a LTE ipad mini at a slightly higher price point.I have been using the IPAD + logitech keypad as a laptop replacement at work for the past 3 months and loving it.Are we headed for a multi-tablet era in the post PC world ?

  65. Elia Freedman

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is part of what Apple is responding to with a 7″ iPad next month. I completely agree with you, especially after selling software to school districts for a few years. Cheap always wins as the volume of students is too high to afford anything massive at 1:1.

  66. fredwilson

    at $35, every kid will have a tablet. some textbooks are more than that!!!!

  67. ShanaC

    wow. I wonder what that means in terms of Common Core textbook development

  68. panterosa,

    And how nice to know they drag less baggage around on their growing frames, as well as how pleasant it is to read a kindle sized tablet.

  69. Fernando Gutierrez

    Yes, but you still would need to pay for the etextbooks. There is a lot of free stuff out there, but I think it’s gonna be long before the disappearance of text books.

  70. leigh

    I know many people who are using tablets as replacement computers for themselves & their kids. Accessibility for everyone!

  71. LE

    “at $35″Not to mention that at that price point when you figure in loss of the device, breakage etc. the effective number sold will be much higher.Also when products fall in price people tend to buy many more than they need just for convenience. (I’m practically tripping over all the USB flash drives that I pickup like candy each time I see them.)

  72. JLM

    .At that price point, political candidates will be giving them out in battleground states. Not to influence votes, mind you, but just because those candidates are just so damn thoughtful.Think about it, they will totally replace phones in a year or so..

  73. leigh

    besides the kids can just use their social networks to post pics of the more expensive stuff they want to one day afford. brings the same social capital to them as owning.

  74. Pete Griffiths

    The word ‘computer’ suggests that you input information as well as consume it and I find content creation on tablets painful. Ironically, by the time you carry around a keyboard or keyboard case you are pretty close to an Air or Ultra.

  75. ShanaC

    not the blind. Touch screens don’t provide much feedback.

  76. Pete Griffiths

    Completely agree. A revolution is underway.

  77. fredwilson

    exactly. content and curriculum costs are headed to zerothis will be a big boon for the teachers and educators

  78. kidmercury

    open does not necessarily mean first mover, but one that sets the stage for mass market adoption. i think this has played out with the trilogy of iToys (ipod, iphone, ipad).

  79. Pete Griffiths

    Very true. If Zuckerberg is to be believed he wrote his S1 on a phone. Clearly insane.

  80. Pete Griffiths

    Yes indeed. But I think that for the first time we can see meaningful glimpses of how education can be transformed at scale.

  81. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I like that 🙂 I remember watching news story one about tablet computers used in african villages (It might have been kindle) which were built especially to survive heavy usage by multi-user

  82. fredwilson

    yes!the single greatest factor in a child’s education is his/her parents involvement

  83. tylernol

    watch and learn, watch and learn…

  84. tylernol

    taking a look at Apple’s strategy with the iPods, it is safe to assume that they are adopting a similar “attack from above” strategy with the tablet market and the middle and low end are not being overlooked. A 7″ or 8″ iPad Mini/Air will move the price point lower (I have no idea if they will go for a $200 or a $300 price point, probably depends on whether they go with a retina display) and by this time next year , that model will be even lower in price. Economies of scale — Apple can make quality hardware cheaper than anyone else these days and still make a good margin.

  85. raycote

    We may not be at the end of history when it come to new high end features and functionality from Apple.Innovation is where they make their extra margins.If the feature/function evolution stalls they may be done.It seems a little early for that ?

  86. JLM

    .Huge racket. Textbooks are so ripe for disruption.Most colleges have professors using PPT, Flash and recording everything and the profs are witting accomplices as they now only make incremental preparations.This is the wave of the future..

  87. fredwilson

    i strongly believe textbooks will be wikipedia-ized in the next few years not by wikipedia per sebut by services built by entrepreneurs who are hacking education

  88. raycote

    Amazon P/E = 305 and counting !

  89. kidmercury

    i used to think that was too high. now i think it’s not high enough. it’s still a growth company — kindle ecosystem, cloud stuff, and discount ecommerce (i.e. the “end of middle class” trade) are all what convinced me to finally get long amazon.

  90. leigh

    For those that can afford it, we likely have tablet, smart phone, and airbook. 🙂

  91. fredwilson

    i sat with my son last night while he did his homework. it was about 90 minutes. i did email on my Nexus 7 the whole time. it was a breeze. i think i prefer it to my laptop.

  92. leigh

    yes, not the blind….

  93. Pete Griffiths

    I agree.

  94. Pete Griffiths

    That is a very important comment. I find it painfully slow and error prone to input on my Nexus compared with my air, but maybe I am the outlier. It is very hard to predict mass consumer preference in this kind of area but it will prove to be hugely important if you turn out to be the majority.

  95. fredwilson

    Your candidate delivered a whupping last night. He came across as the guy you’ve been describing here for months.