If you want to know how many Android tablets are out there, you have two options.
First, you can see what the manufacturers say. For example, Motorola said it shipped 440k tablets in Q2 and 250k in Q1. The problem with this is that ‘shipped’ does not equal ‘sold’, plus not all manufacturers disclose anything.
Alternatively, you can see what Google says. Google’s developer site provides figures ‘as a percentage of devices accessing the Android Market’ for each version of the Android OS and for a range of screen sizes. I’ve charted the relevant ones below.
So, what’s this a percentage of? I’ve a model of the Android installed base based on Google’s periodic statements of the total size and more frequent statements as to how many devices are activating each day: I might write about that later, but I’m pretty happy it’s correct to within 5% or so. If I apply that to these percentages, I get the following chart.
These numbers are probably accurate to, say, the nearest hundred two thousand.
Helpfully, the ‘xlarge’ and ‘Honeycomb’ percentages are more or less the same, much as one would expect, and they align pretty well with the idea that Moto and Samsung have each sold 750k or so tablets.
The tricky number is the ‘5-7 inch’ category. Samsung claimed at the beginning of the year that it had shipped 500k of the 7 inch Galaxy Tab, but theres a lot of debate abut how many it actually sold. These numbers would certainly support a high sell-through figure. But of course we don’t know how many $200 ‘Shenzhen Specials’ are also in that number. On the other hand, devices like the Nook, which are 7 inch and do run Android, don’t connect to the Market so won’t be in this, and the same will be true of the much-rumoured Amazon tablet.
$Shameless plug: I wrote a very detailed study of the Mobile Platform Wars for Enders Analysis last month: contact me for details.