Three years from now, the iPad, which invented the modern tablet market, will be on the outside looking in.
At least that is the projection from research group IDC. The organization expects Android tablet market share to exceed that of Apple's by 2015. However, the iOS platform will remain the leader when it comes to actual revenue even when the number of devices is outpaced by its competitor.
IDC noted that in the fourth quarter of 2011, tablet sales grew to 28.2 million units worldwide. Compared to the same period in 2010, that's a 155% increase.
The total number of tablets shipped in all of 2011 eclipsed 68.7 million, with the majority of those being an iPad or iPad 2. But IDC pointed out the Amazon Kindle Fire, which it said had an "impressive debut." The Kindle Fire may be the catalyst that starts really getting people excited about the Android tablet environment.
"Amazon's widely-reported entry into the media tablet market with a $199, 7-inch product seemed to raise consumers' awareness of the category worldwide despite the fact that the Fire shipped almost exclusively in the U.S. in the fourth quarter," IDC analyst Tom Mainelli said in a statement.
One of the keys, IDC says, is for Android to start really playing up its presence in markets outside the US, where competition against the iPad is less fierce. Tablets are all about content, and the Kindle Fire was the first Android tablet that showed it can present content in an engaging and worthwhile manner.