By all accounts, 2012 will be the year that media tablet adoption accelerates. Tablet usage by existing device owners has skyrocketed. As an example, Apple iPad users are estimated to have already cumulatively downloaded three billion applications since the launch of the iPad in 2010.
This was 19 percent of all cumulative downloads by Apple users. According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the Apple iPhone took two years before being able to achieve this level of downloads, while the iPad took a year and a half.
By comparison, Google Android tablets have reached 440 million downloads thus far.
"Discounting all those apps that were originally developed for Android smartphones, Android still trails greatly behind the iPad in terms of its tablet app offerings," says research associate Lim Shiyang at ABI Research.
Many Android tablets in the market are still using older versions of the OS, which disadvantages users from enjoying the better effects of apps produced from more advanced software development kits.
Besides offering a larger quantity of iPad-specific apps, iOS apps are generally considered to be of a better quality compared to Android tablet-specific apps. As of Q3 2011, there were 120,000 apps published specifically for the iPad.
The iPad device typically offers more features compared to the other current tablets in the market. In contrast, Android is currently being used on many more low-end tablets that may offer better overall value.
However, things are expected to change as manufacturers adopt the recently-released Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as accelerate new product development to close the specifications gap.
Furthermore, annual Android app downloads for smartphones are expected to reach 58 Billion by 2016, compared to 27 billion for Apple’s iPhone.