From time to time I like to runs polls on this site to gauge opinion about technical issues and to help me pick topics to write about that are going to be of interest to readers. One of the most interesting polls has just closed with two hundred votes cast. The question asked was “Which tablet do you own or are you wanting to buy?”. Obviously there are some restrictions to how seriously this poll should be taken, but I am hoping that the number of participants in the poll is big enough to give some meaningful data on the tablet battles. So the results are in and they are surprising – who are the winners and losers?
The results are shown in the table below:
|No tablet for me
|Microsoft Windows powered tablet
Poll ran from 16th May to 31st July 2011.
You will notice I missed out HP's WebOS powered TouchPad tablet from the options that people can vote for. This was a bit of a silly error on my part, so it is possible that a lot of the “Other” votes were intended for that device.
The “winner” in the poll by quite a large margin is Android tablets on 48% (95 votes) followed by the Apple iPad on 26% (51 votes). This might surprise many people are the iPad seems to dominate media attention on the subject of tablets and has many loyal followers. To be fair there are a few factors that might explain this. Firstly, I don't write much about Apple products, but do write a lot more about Android and open source so this site might not appeal to Apple fans all that much. So it is possible that a higher proportion of visitors might prefer Android anyway and Apple fans are under-represented in visitor numbers.
Secondly, “Android tablets” and the iPad are conceptually different. Apple have only produced two models of iPad, whereas many more models of Android tablet are on offer. The poll asks not just about current ownership but also intention to buy so people could be waiting for particular models of Android tablet to go on the market that have certain features or are from their favourite manufacturer. The diversity of products running Android is something that makes it such an interesting subject for me, people can pick products that best fit their needs and wallet. Decent Android tablets are quite new on the market and have already reportedly already had an impact on the iPad's market share.
One clear lesson from the poll is that tablet market is a two horse race at the moment. Once you move past the Android and Apple devices other brands struggle to have an impact.
Microsoft have been talking about tablet PCs since 2000 and various models have gone on sale, but still few seem interested in their products. Maybe this will change once Windows 8 tablets go on sale. The Blackberry Playbook also put in a poor show in the polls with only one vote and as a result finished bottom of the poll. I can't really comment about this device as my only experience is having a quick go on one at a shop in an airport but I am surprised given how popular Blackberry phones are. MeeGo tablets also didn't do too well in the poll either. In a way it was slightly unfair to include them as you can't actually buy such a device yet (as far as I know), but to gain 4% (seven votes) is a sign that there is some interest in this Linux based OS. If it attracted a loyal, enthusiastic crowd it could have a bright future, but at the moment it seems difficult to tell. Worth keeping an eye on as well is Mozilla's new Boot to Gecko project, far too early to tell what impact it could have but Mozilla command a lot of respect and support (I noticed this at a recent Firefox launch party in London) which could be a boost for their new OS.
Twenty nine people (15%) said "no tablet for me" in the poll. This is a good reminder to all of us not to get too carried away when talking about tablets. For many they might not be good enough yet to justify the expense, particularly as you can buy a full laptop for the same money as a decent tablet and of course it is even possible the whole subject doesn't interest some people! Falling prices and better products might affect the number selecting this option in future.
As with all polls it should only be taken (with caution) as an indicator of what might be happening in the tablet market. That hasn't stopped it producing some interesting results though and it is a very valuable insight into people's thoughts on the tablet race. It might be worth rerunning the same poll in a year or two to see what changes. For now the clear winner is Android and now we wait to see how Android devices sell over the next year to see if this poll indicates a general trend.
Thank you to everybody who voted!