Platform loyalty only goes so far: Android and BlackBerry phone owners prefer Apple's tablet product.
The iPad is still the tablet that continues to define the market. In fact, I've said there really is no tablet market, there is just an iPad market. Still, you'd think that if someone had BlackBerry phone they'd be more at home with the RIM PlayBook tablet, and Android owners would be happier with one of a few dozen different Android powered tablets. A recent survey though of 2,500 people indicates that isn't the case. In general, they prefer the iPad to go with their non-Apple smartphone.
With a brace of devices with matching operating systems, you can expect some things to function consistently across devices. You may also be able to save a bit of cash by being able to install the same apps on each device. You may even have some accessories that can be shared, like chargers.
According to a survey conducted last month, 2,500 respondents chose the iPad over 13 competing tablets regardless of what phone they use. BlackBerry owners were most likely to cross party lines and get an iPad instead of the PlayBook. That is particularly bad news for RIM because very few non-BlackBerry owners would have any desire to own a PlayBook since the tablet needs to partner with a BlackBerry phone to reach its full potential. Only 8.5% of BlackBerry customers expressed a desire to remain loyal to RIM.
Android users didn't show much more loyalty to their platform either. The Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy Tab, both powered by Android, were only preferred by 15% and 19%, respectively, of users with an Android phone. Compare that to 41% who want an iPad.
I don't see any big shifts in the tablet market for several months at least. The iPad 3 is rumored to be available this coming spring, but it isn't like Apple needs a new product. Sales for the iPad 2 continue to flourish and it is one of the hot items this holiday season, even though in tech terms it is ancient at nine months old.
The only thing that may shake things up is when Windows 8 ships this fall. It is designed to run on tablets and sports the popular Metro interface that was introduced on Windows Phone and came to the Xbox 360 this week. The question is, will Microsoft hardware partners put out compelling devices with great screens, long battery life, and svelte form factors that will be appealing when compared to the iPad? If not, expect the tablet market at the end of 2012 to look very similar to what it does today, which is really just an iPad market.
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