Sales are “quite smooth”…

ComScore just released their latest attempt to estimate traffic patterns for devices other than PCs, entitled “Device Essentials“.*  Taking their data at face value, the iPad dominates Android tablets by a ratio of 9-to-1 worldwide and 36-to-1 in the US.

Now, we know that the iPad has sold 25 million units worldwide.  If average usage patterns are similar for Android and iPad tablets, then around 2.8 million Android tablets were in use by the end of May (25/9 = 2.8).  But recall that Samsung announced five months ago that it had shipped 2 million Galaxy Tabs!  Assuming the comScore data are remotely accurate, this implies at least one of three things:

1.  There are a lot of unsold Galaxy Tabs sitting on store shelves.

2.  Sales of the Honeycomb tablets from February through May have been, to put it mildly, underwhelming (by my count, the devices available during this period include the Xoom, Iconia Tab, Transformer, and G-Slate).

3.  Consumers buying Android tablets are not using them as heavily as consumers buying iPads.  No doubt this is true of people buying the Nook Color, who may use it primarily as an e-reader rather than a general purpose tablet.

I suspect all three are true to varying degrees. In summary, shipped != sold, and I would not be surprised if reports that OEMs are shifting resources from tablets to smartphones prove to be true.

* ComScore is vague about the methodology underlying the Device Essentials report.  It is based off their Unified Digital Measurement data, which they claim is a “hybrid” of their non-random sample of 2 million PC users combined with Internet traffic data collected by comScore affiliated servers.  In other words, they appear to be taking a weighted average of estimates from survey respondents and estimates from traffic data at a set of websites.


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