If you think there’s absolutely no way Microsoft will be able to escape single-digit space in the smartphone OS ranks anytime soon, Redmond’s slow but steady tablet growth might make you reconsider.

Just three years ago, Windows was a mere blip on iOS and Android’s radars as far as large-screen gadgets were concerned too, with less than two percent of global sales, compared to over 55 percent for iPads, and 40+ for Galaxy Tabs, Motorola Xooms, early Nexuses, and the first-gen Kindle Fire.

But then Surfaces surged from awkward experimental products to actual laptop replacements, and Asus, Acer and Lenovo also joined the 2-in-1 movement, including with low-cost 10 and 11-inchers. And all of a sudden, market analysts say Microsoft and its partner OEMs “finally got tablets right”, aiming for a grand total of 22 million shipments in 2015, and a cool 10 percent slice of the shrinking but still delicious pie.

The year’s first nine months have reportedly seen Windows tablet popularity grow by an impressive 58 percent, and Strategy Analytics predicts a further 120 percent increase within four years or so. That means worldwide sales could reach close to 50 million units in 2019, only narrowly behind iPads, but nonetheless eclipsed by Androids.

Tablet market share

On the other hand, it’s Google’s very platform that’s projected to lose steam to MS and friendly manufacturers, with the current dominant market share of 68 percent possibly dropping to 59 in the not-so-distant future. Apple should retain a little over 20 percent of the “ecosystem”, while Windows will climb from 10 to 18 percentage points if the forecast pans out. That’s clearly a big if, though the trends seem hard to contest. Android is down, Windows is up.

Source: Strategy Analytics

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