According to IDC's numbers, Apple owns 87% of the tablet market. All other vendors combined sold roughly 2.2 million tablets in 2010. Nearly half of those -- just over 1 million -- were Samsung's Galaxy Tab, which runs Google's Android operating system. To say that Apple's position dominates the landscape is a serious understatement.
Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said, "Apple has now sold nearly 15 million iPads, and while that's an extraordinary achievement, people have lost perspective on just how extraordinary it really is: a year ago, there was no consumer tablet market, and nearly all the tablets shown at CES in January 2010 were canceled. Going into CES 2011 the tablets were again out in force, but it remains to be seen how well they can replicate Apple’s model of not just using a mobile OS platform, but also tying into an existing market for media content, and encouraging developers to write tablet-specific apps. Apple already has an enormous lead in apps and I'm still waiting for someone to build a credible competitor to iTunes."
Apple's success in 2010 comes partly because it was one of the only tablets that was widely available for much of the year. Competitors have been slow to respond to the iPad, at their own expense. Samsung's Galaxy Tab reached some markets in October (six months after iPad's debut) and the U.S. in November. By the end of 2010, Samsung met its goal of 1 million units, but that pales in comparison to the iPad's success.
"The iPad numbers caught almost everyone by surprise," said Ovum's Jan Dawson. "For a brand new product in what's really a new category to sell this well in such a short period of time is pretty much unprecedented. Apple also secured for itself first mover advantage, which was important for two reasons: it was in the market for several months before any real competitors showed up, and it also defined the category, forcing everyone else to deal with both a very attractive device and a very aggressive price point, which no-one else has yet been able to match. There will be more competition in the coming months when the Playbook and the first Honeycomb Android devices launch, and we expect market share to even out significantly over time, but for the time being the iPad is going to dominate the space with everyone else fighting over the leftovers."