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Apple IPad to Dominate Tablet Market Through 2015, Gartner Says

Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet will continue to dominate the market for tablet computers, controlling more than three-fifths of the market next year, technology research firm Gartner Inc. predicts.

Apple’s iOS platform, which powers its iPhone and iPad devices, will account for 69 percent of the market this year and 64 percent in 2012, Gartner said. Apple’s share will decline to 47 percent in 2015, according to the report today.

The iPad has triggered a flurry of competitors as hardware makers recognized the pent-up demand for devices that straddle the gap between a smartphone and a laptop computer. Apple has sold more than 15 million iPads since they went on sale last April, and the company may have sold 500,000 of the iPad 2 follow-up model since it went on sale last month, according to projections by analysts at Piper Jaffray Cos. and Deutsche Bank AG.

The only other tablet operating system forecast to come close is Google Inc.’s Android, which is used in Motorola Inc.’s Xoom and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Tab. Android’s share of the market is expected to reach 24 percent next year and 39 percent in 2015, Gartner said.

Research In Motion Ltd.’s QNX platform for Blackberry Playbook should account for 5.6 percent of the industry this year, 6.6 percent in 2012, and 10 percent in 2015.

RIM’s market share growth will be constrained by a shortage of developers building applications for the PlayBook that consumers look for, Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said in the report.

“It will take time and significant effort for RIM to attract developers and deliver a compelling ecosystem of applications and services around QNX to position it as a viable alternative to Apple or Android,” she wrote.

The PlayBook, which goes on sale in the U.S. on April 19, may sell 5.4 million of the devices over the fiscal year which began Feb. 27, predicts Alkesh Shah, an analyst with Evercore Partners Inc.

PlayBook sales will be 3.9 million devices in 2011, eclipsed by a forecast of almost 48 million iPad sales, Gartner said.

-- Editors: Lisa Rapaport, Ville Heiskanen

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