The days of Apple being the underdog are officially over.

According the market research firm Strategy Analytics, the iPad captured 95% global tablet market share during Q3 2010.

This huge market share isn’t too surprising, as the iPad was the first commercially-avaible tablet that was consumer-friendly. Windows-based tablets, while they have been around for years, have never really been too successful outside of a few niche markets. This is due to several reasons, not the least of which is that Windows simply isn’t touch friendly. Even with a stylus, it’s not a great experience.

Apple learned from Microsoft’s shortcomings, using the iPhone OS — which was designed from the ground up to be touch-based — on the iPad. At this point, Windows-based tablets aren’t a threat to anyone.

The tablet PC’s cousin — the netbook — has also suffered at the hands of the iPad. ChangeWave, another market research firm, has found that netbook demand has shrunk 80%.

Ouch.

However,  Strategy Analytics warns that Apple’s “huge lead will be short-lived,” as Android-powered tablets are poised to “flood the market.” While several models are due out in the coming months, the most well-known, the Samsun Galaxy Tab, has been released to mixed reviews.

The Galaxy Tab is being sold by cell carriers with data contracts, just like smartphones. Apple on the other hand, sells the iPad as a stand-alone product, just like a notebook computer. This strategy allows customers much more freedom, as they can do what they want to with their product without worrying about a contract. Apple’s approach is correct, in my book. I think that consumers view tablets as small computers, not big smartphones.

Most importantly, Android itself isn’t ready for use on tablets, according to Google’s director of mobile products. As such, Samsung has bundled several custom apps to fill the shortcomings of Froyo. These custom apps may leave users without an official (or working) solution in the future, once Samsung has moved on to future products. Android 3.0 may change this, as consumers want a full-featured product. The iPad simply offers a better experience than any Android tablet.

RIM’s future tablet, the PlayBook, is still months away. I think RIM has a larger mountain to climb than Google does in the tablet space. At this point, I think it is safe to say that the large market share that the iPad enjoys will continue.

Article Via Electronista

Photo Credit: mattcoops

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