With no true rival to challenge it, the iPad will likely continue to dominate the tablet market for at least the next two years. According to new estimates from iSuppli, Apple’s (AAPL) device will claim 74.1 percent of the tablet market in 2010. And while that share is certain to slip as worthy competitors emerge, it won’t slip that much. By 2012 the iPad will still hold about 61.7 percent of the market, leaving the remainder to the horde of tablets following it.
“Companies are quickly developing products that match or exceed some of the surface hardware specifications of the Apple iPad,” said iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander. “But it’s still unlikely that any of the competitors will be able to equal the overall performance experience of the iPad. Apple’s complete integration of hardware, software, operating system and applications is a major piece of what makes the device a standout. And on that basis—an integrated hardware/software design—we don’t see anything in the marketplace at present that seems likely to rival what Apple is offering in tablets today.”
But what about new products in the pipe? That Chrome OS tablet that Google (GOOG) is supposedly working on. Or Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) webOS offering?
Alexander figures the iPad’s most interesting near-term competition will be HP’s device, but she doesn’t see it appearing before 2011. And she views Google’s rumored Chrome OS tablet as a non-starter–at this point, anyway. Evidently, iSuppli sources say the initial Chrome OS doesn’t yet support multitouch. So we’re not likely to see touch-enabled Chrome devices until 2011 or beyond. “Even then, Google faces some significant challenges in premiering a new operating system and migrating directly from smart phones to tablets,” Alexander said. “More than likely, Google will take an interim step up to the smart book market before jumping into the tablet fray with the Chrome OS.”