Android Tipped by Analysts to Dominate Mobile Device Market

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By Erik Pineda | November 19, 2012 7:02 PM EST

Android appears well on its way to global mobile device dominance, likely to complete its tablet rally much sooner than Apple had expected.

As of the latest shipment statistics, the more than two-year old industry that Apple has created is hardly the territory that it was just over a year ago, with research firm IDC recently reporting that the tech giant's firm grip on the tablet market seems weakening by the quarter.

From an incredible hold of over 80 per cent in 2011, iPad's market share was whittled down to 65 per cent by the end of March 2012, IDC said, adding that three months after, the same pie further shrunk to just above 50 per cent.

The remaining shade in the circle is now obviously occupied by Android-powered slates and NPD Group chief analyst Stephen Baker was far from surprised, citing that shotgun approach employed by Apple rivals in selling their products to counter onslaught.

The most notable success using this tactic, which pits series of the same tablet and smartphones lines against Apple's iPad and iPhone, is Samsung, which is distantly followed by LG, HTC and others. They have one common denominator - Android.

Samsung's inroads into the turfs once thought by analysts to remain Apple indefinitely is best explained by its variety of gadget flavours, Mr Baker said, which he noted was "strength when it comes to moving units."

"Having a lot of people building a lot of things covering a lot of price points with multiple brands in multiple places makes a big difference," the NPD Group analyst was quoted by Agence France Presse (AFP) as saying on Sunday.

Yet the same 'big difference' normally benefits few players in the same high-stake competition environment and in the case of the tablet-smartphone wars between Apple and Android device manufacturers, it is Samsung which emerged as the dominant beneficiary of Google's mobile platform.

"Other than Samsung, I don't know if other Android guys are making money," Mr Baker told AFP.

And revenues indeed were being delivered by Samsung's Android devices, in fact making these products as the largest money-maker of the firm's consumer electronic business, generating billions of income on the financial side.

On the prestige side, Samsung holds the distinction as the company that toppled Apple from the smartphone pedestal, its Galaxy S3 recently crowned as the bestselling smartphone brand during the September quarter, Strategic Analytics said. And it's not because the S3 was cheaper, it's a premium phone by all accounts.

But outside of Samsung, Android's rate of global penetration has been greatly aided by affordability, which arguably is one of the best things that can be said of Android handsets, analysts said.

Apart from the array of Android devices out there, the platform is besting Apple "because there is more choice and most of that choice is low price," Forrester analyst Charles Golvin told AFP.

This leeway also afforded Android device manufacturers more rooms for innovations, allowing the introduction of unique gadgets like Samsung's Galaxy Note phablet, now on its second coming and responsible for the South Korean firm's additional sale figures, in millions at that.

Again, analysts would be hardly surprised if in a future quarterly report Android would be crowned as the overall mobile device leader, its supremacy spanning both the smartphone and tablet markets.

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