Those Amazon.com Android tablets which are continually speculated upon can't come soon enough for the company. For the first time ever, the Barnes & Noble NOOK Color, an Android
-powered tablet, but one that's not a general tablet unless hacked, has overtaken the Kindle
(now in second) as the most popular e-reader.
Amazon.com is expected to release its general purpose Android tablets soon, although no announcement has been made. In fact, according to DigiTimes, Amazon.com ordered more tablet units than any other Android OEM in Q3.
IDC has forecast global shipments of 16.2 million e-readers in 2011, an increase of 24 percent over 2010. Of course, if Amazon.com ships general purpose tablets, those would be counted separately.
And speaking of those tablets, which IDC counts separately, despite a relatively poor first quarter of 2011, IDC has raised its tablet shipment forecast for the year. Global tablet shipments fell 28 percent when comparing Q1 2011 to Q4 2010, to 7.2 million units.
Market research firms have been comparing tablet shipments on a sequential quarter basis, as Apple's iPad, the first truly successful tablet, didn't ship until April of 2010.
Despite the poor first quarter, IDC increased its worldwide tablet shipment outlook to 53.5 million units, up from the previous forecast from 50.4 million units. The firm cited growing consumer interest in tablets and as well as the introduction of new devices.
It's also true that since market research firms are tracking tablet sales quarter to quarter, seasonal effects need to be accounted for. Seasonal trends are "typically found in more mature consumer electronics and computing categories," but tablets may be experiencing that factor already.
While iPad and iPad 2 have continued to dominate tablets, IDC noted that Apple fell short of expectations for iPad tablet sales in Q1. At the same time, despite pronouncements of the failure of Android tablets, Android-based tablets have climbed to 34 percent of total shipments, which is an 8.2 percent rise from Q4 2010.
While still badly trailing the iPad, is it possible that Android is finally beginning to make a move in tablets? It took a long time for Android smartphones to make a dent in smartphone sales, but once it did, its market share kept on climbing to the point that it is now at the top of smartphone platforms. Quite a few analysts have already predicted a similar result, in terms of Android tablets vs. the iPad.