According to new data from Gartner, Microsoft's tablet volumes improved during the 2013 year but the company's tablet share remained small. In fact, Microsoft accounted for a 2.1% share, with 4,031,802 tablets sold during the 2013 year. This is, however, up from the previous year's 1,162,435 tablets sold and 1% tablet share figure.
"Despite Microsoft now acting more rapidly to evolve Windows 8.1, its ecosystem still failed to capture major consumers' interest on tablets," Gartner stated today. While we can easily assume that the 4 million tablets sold are all Surface devices, we would be wrong. It appears that Gartner is factoring in hybrid devices running Windows. "Gartner does not track the tablet market in isolation from other device categories. Tablets are a part of the wider ultramobile market that also includes hybrids and clamshells."
The tablet growth in 2013 was primarily due to the high interest in low-end small screen tablets and first time buyers - a market in which Android was able to dominate with a 62% market share. Apple, on the other hand, holds a 36% tablet market share. "In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications," Gartner added.
Microsoft has yet to official state how many Surface devices have been sold. Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 have been available since October of 2013, while the first generation of devices were revealed the year prior. With Android dominating the small screen market, it is quite obvious that Microsoft needs to release a Surface mini to compete in this market.