Thanks to testimony in the Oracle-Google lawsuit over the use of Java in Android, we now know just how high Google’s hopes for Android were in 2011.
According to Google VP Andy Rubin, the search giant was looking for Android tablets to account for 33% of the tablet market last year. The good news for Google was that the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Fire may have brought Google within striking distance of that figure.
But that really isn’t good news, of course, because the version of Android the Kindle Fire is running is an Amazon fork that doesn’t include the key services, like Google Play, that Google bundles into the versions of Android it distributes.
And the news isn’t getting any better for Google. Yesterday, comScore revealed that the Kindle Fire now accounts for over half (54.4%) of the Android tablets sold in the United States. The next closest competitor, all of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab devices, has a 15.4% share of the Android tablet market.
While Google might publicly support the success of Android in whatever flavor it comes in, behind the scenes Amazon’s success with the Kindle Fire is naturally disturbing to Google, which is rumored to be working on a low-cost Android tablet of its own designed to compete with the Fire.
Unfortunately for Google, time is not on its side. The Kindle Fire’s share of the Android tablet market grew from 41.8% in January of this year, and from just 29.4% in December. With Amazon reportedly prepping new versions of the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s momentum may be something Google simply can’t stop.
With Apple selling nearly 12m iPads in Q1 2012, and Windows 8 expected to ship later this year with a slew of Intel-based tablets in tow, it appears that all of Google’s hard work in creating, promoting and defending Android may be for naught when it comes to cashing in on the tablet market.