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Apple is expected gain significant share of the tablets market, with strong pre-orders for iPad tablets and millions projected to ship in 2010. Yet, many other suppliers are rolling out tablet products this year, with a fair share of these based on Google’s Android operating system. Up to a quarter of all slate-type PCs are projected to use the Google OS.

“The user interface and content that a tablet supplier brings to the table will likely influence purchase decisions just as much as hardware requirements. Suppliers are realizing the importance of content and service and many are turning to the Android ecosystem to be able to offer the complete user experience and compete with Apple’s offering,” said Anna Hunt, an analyst with IMS Research.

In addition to Android and Apple OS, Microsoft Windows 7 will also account for a fair share of the tablet market, estimated by IMS Research at 10% of shipments in 2010 and expected to grow its share onward. IMS Research estimates that about 24% of the tablets shipping in 2010 will be based on Android.

“Right now many of the applications specifically designed for the iPad platform, which are starting to hit the iTunes App Store, are actually more expensive than apps for the iPhone OS platform. This leaves an opportunity for suppliers that can offer a tablet solution that is overall more price competitive,” said Ms. Hunt.

IMS Research forecasts that starting in 2012, over half of the tablets sold each year will be distributed via mobile and fixed carriers, who will offer increasingly competitive service plans and up-front equipment subsidies to attract purchasers and increase subscription revenues.

“Over the next couple of years, we can expect a variety of tablet models that may not be able to run word processing software, but will offer a variety of web-based and multimedia applications for under $200 to the end user,” the analyst indicated.

Tags: Apple, iPad, Google, Android

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