Tablet PC Operating Systems & Current Market Situation
Tablet PCs are not only about to become a normal part of many people’s every day computing life, but furthermore tablet PCs are also one of the currently fastest growing hardware segments within the computer and consumer electronics industry:
The overall market for tablet PCs is up 280% from a year ago, and according to Fierce Wireless this rapid growth of the tablet PC segment is showing no signs of a slowdown any time soon.
An interesting trend that we’ve been observing during the recent months is how Android is gaining foothold not only with their Android-powered mobile phones and gain leverage by their growing market share of total smartphones shipped, but also how Android is about to gain stance also in the previously Apple-dominated market for tablet PCs.
As reported throughout the main stream internet media during last week, the market share of Android tablet PCs grew from 2.3% to 27% with the last year and with a massive increase of almost 95% it’s safe to say that Android is about to gain market hold and is about to secure a solid market share that might also affect Apple’s near-monopoly in short or mid-term.
Further, Android clearly shows the potential to further shake up the market and provide other hardware manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola as well as smaller manufacturers like Aces, Dell and also other OEM manufacturers with a powerful software solution that enables their products to effectively compete with Apple’s iPad.
According to the research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple's iPad now holds an est. 67% of the global tablet PC market as of the 3rd quarter of this year, which is significantly less and down quite a lot from the 95.5% it had in the year-ago period.
With Android now up to a ca. 27%, this leaves little room in the current market for tablets running other operating system. Microsoft Windows got a mere 2.4% of the current global market for tablet PCs, however their new release of Windows 8 might turn out to also further grow Microsofts market share with the tablet PC segment.
One strong market advantage of Google’s Android OS is the low sales price for most Android tablets, which in combination with solid hardware from suppliers such as HTC and Samsung leads to very competitive solutions such as e.g the Samsung Galaxy tablet PC which has the potential to outrun the iPad when it comes to both price and functionality.
Where are the Linux-powered Tablet PCs?
Interestingly, none of the major tablet PC OEM manufacturers are currently shipping a tablet PC that is powered by Linux or any other FOSS Free and Open Source Software. Even though technically possible to run Ubuntu Linux on the US$ 99 HP TouchPad the installation is not trivial and currently also touch-screen support is still experimental.
The current Linux distributions seem not yet to be very suitable for tablet PC, however progress is being made when it comes to development, and some of the main distributions have already started to develop Linux as OS for future tablet devices.
One Linux distribution that seems to be doing a lot of work in the area of optimizing for tablet PCs is Canonicals Ubuntu Linux, which is based on one of the most popular Linux distributions which is Debian the Universal Operating System.
"The new Ubuntu 11.04 release has been built with a scalable UI and would make a perfect operating system on a tablet, so long as the keyboard input method works well," Bill Roth, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at LogLogic, told LinuxInsider in a recent interview
Also, several Linux projects are currently working on improving the overall touch-screen support for Linux powered tablet PCs and tablet like devices, such as e.g Canonical’s uTouch promise better overall support for touch on Linux. An advantage of Linux as OS for tablet PCs is the richness of free applications, that in combination with e.g a modified and optimized version of Debian’s Advanced Packaging Tool APT this could become a true alternative to commercial and proprietary app stores.
So even though Android and Apples iOS have had a big head start and certainly will hold strong market shares of the future tablet PC device market, we are also likely to see several new tablet PC devices from innovative hardware OEM manufacturers such as HTC, Asus and HP that will run both Windows 8 for tablets and also be able to run optimized Linux derivatives.
Tizen Linux for Tablet PCs by Intel & Samsung
Another potentially powerful Linux based OS that’s about to come our way it Tizen, the new successor of Intel’s and Nokias former MeeGo OS that is now being fused and incorporated into the new Linux based operating system Tizen.
Intels new Tizen is said to have the most potential for tablet PCs, and it now being developed together with partnering Samsung. It is said to release a first stable version of their Linux based OS during the first quarters of 2012. Some new partners are also to join the Tizen club, with Asustek Computer and Acer both set to add development for the project and HTC currently evaluating its decision, and we are likely to see a powerful club of hardware manufacturers working together on developing a free open source Linux-based OS that’s tailored especially for tablet PCs.
With this, we’re pretty sure to see the launching of plenty new and innovative tablet PCs running Tizen Linux during 2012, which will certainly also ready customer base among the open source software movement and early adaptors who favor open source software for it’s advantages. Tizen Linux might turn out as a true competitor to Android, and Apple’s iOS might see it’s market share shrink as innovative Linux tablet PCs enter the market and are likely to gain momentum during 2012.
We at MemoTrek™ Technologies will keep a close look on these new and innovative tablet PCs and help our customers making the right choice by carefully selecting suitable Android tablet PCs for wholesale in our shop, and do our best to make sure that buyer’s benefit from some of the best value of hardware and software that today’s tablet PCs have to offer.
Wholesale buyers for Android tablet PCs please contact our sales team now.