iPad share of tablet market jumps as Kindle Fire slumps

Pure-play Android tablets may have tough time competing on price against Apple and Amazon, says IDC

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In the same April earnings call with Wall Street analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook called iPad sales to businesses "off the charts."

"But it's too early to say that the battle is over and done with," cautioned O'Donnell, referring to Apple's current dominance of the tablet market. "That would be an incorrect assumption."

IDC expects that Amazon will introduce a larger-screen device "at a typically aggressive price point," and that Google will move into the market with an Android tablet co-branded with Asian computer maker Asus that will "compete directly on price with Amazon's Kindle Fire."

Lurking in the wings are devices powered by Microsoft's Windows 8 and Windows RT -- the latter formerly called WOA, for Windows on ARM, by the Redmond, Wash. developer.

IDC hasn't taken a firm stance on Windows 8/Windows RT, because devices, and more importantly, their prices, have yet to be disclosed. And pricing seemed to be foremost on O'Donnell's mind.

"Imagine this scenario," he said. "The Kindle Fire and Nook are at $199 with 7-in. tablets. Each will probably do a larger-screened device -- 9- or 10-in. -- at $299. Apple may do a 7-in. iPad at $299. It already has the iPad 2 at $399 and the new iPad at $499. That leaves very little room for the other guys."

Those "other guys" include Google and hardware partners creating what the IDC analysts called "pure-play Android tablets," in other words those that use a standard edition of Google's operating system rather than one that's heavily customized, as in the case of the Fire or Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet.

"They're going to face some pretty serious competition on price," said O'Donnell.

Mainelli echoed that. "To compete in the media tablet market with Apple, they must offer their products at notably lower price points," Mainelli said.

More tablet info

The table below shows the most recently announced tablets as reported by Computerworld. Click a tablet's name in the leftmost column to read a news story or review with more information about the device, or view a larger table with more details about each product.

Table created by Computerworld staff using Zoho Creator.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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