Posted on April 26, 2013 in Archive

Where to Publish Digital Content: Android vs iOS Tablets


Recent research from global market intelligence firm, IDC, indicates that Android devices have seen a rapid increase in popularity in 2012 and 2013. According to IDC figures, Android tablets are set to dominate the market in the near future, even surpassing their biggest competitor, the Apple iPad.

This article suggests that this development is cause for concern for most digital publishers. The first problem for publishers lies in the fact that there are an abundance of tablets running on Android, which are designed with a range of different screen sizes, display resolutions and processing powers. Comparatively, the iPad and the iPad mini deliver similar results, despite their difference in size and resolution, making them an easier target for digital publishers.

At the moment, some publishing systems don’t go to Android tablets at all. In order to cater to the growing number of Android users, publishers will need to consider the aforementioned variables, and replicate their content to suit each device. In the past, some publishers have deemed this a tough assignment and have struggled between a decision to target cross-platform ubiquity, or interactivity and display. Many who have decided to perpetuate a presence in the android market have compromised user experience by offering little to no interactivity.

A second concern for publishers is of a financial nature. According to statistics, Android users are less likely to pay for apps than their iOS counterparts. For publishers who want to improve their Android presence, they need to take into account the buying personality of Android users. This creates the added worry of putting time and money into their publishing systems, without a guarantee of a profitable outcome.

While iOS has been king for a while, and will continue to dominate a significant chunk of the sector for some time, there is no longer any use denying the existence of other tablets. Liquid State has created the following infographic that explores the evolving tablet market.

As can be seen, the number of shipments of Android tablets in 2012 was only just shy of the number of shipments of iOS tablets. This means that publishers who don’t work with Android tablets eliminate themselves from almost half of the market. With a projected figure of $64 billion worth of tablets to be sold in 2013, it is evident that the market is a strong and lucrative one. Publishers who want to take advantage of this need to publish on multiple platforms.

Many publishers see the proliferation of Android devices as a threat- especially those with iOS exclusive apps- however, some have been prepared for this shift. They have acknowledged the fact that content is now being consumed on a plethora of different devices and have recognised that it would be naive of them to think that audiences will just come to them. By taking a proactive approach to the changing tablet market, they have ensured they are prepared for the expected Android growth spurt.

Other publishers who wish to do the same need to ensure that their content suits a wider range of hardware and is adaptable to different screen sizes and layouts. This involves redirecting their business models to incorporate a more flexible, fluid and agnostic approach to digital publishing.