Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell believes Android tablets will eventually overtake Apple's iPad as the dominant force in the slate market, according to an interview published today in The Wall Street Journal.
"Not tomorrow. Not the next day. But again, if you look at 18 months ago, Android phones were like, 'What is that?' And now there are more Android phones than iPhones," Dell said in response to a question on the possibility of Android tablets beating iPad sales. "I don't see any reason why the same won't occur with Android tablets."
Admittedly, Dell has a vested interest in seeing that happen. His company currently offers both 5- and 7-inch Android tablets, known as the Streak. He also pointed out in the interview that Dell will continue to double down on Android.
Of course, Dell didn't say exactly when the shift might occur in tablet market dominance. Right now, Apple's iPad is easily overshadowing the competition. According to research firm IDC, Apple owned 83 percent of the tablet market last year, and IDC expects the company to control between 70 and 80 percent of the tablet market this year.
That further evidences the trouble Android is having establishing a beachhead in the tablet market. The Motorola Xoom, which launched in late February, has been gathering dust on store shelves. Deutsche Bank said recently that only 100,000 units of the device have been sold so far.
It's a similar story for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which launched last year. Samsung said earlier this year that it shipped 2 million units of its tablet worldwide, but it acknowledged in an earnings call with investors in January that the "sell-out wasn't as fast as we expected."
Even so, tablets are catching on in a big way. IDC said earlier this year that it expects 50 million tablets to ship in 2011 alone.
For his part, Dell acknowledged that the uptick in demand for tablets over the past year has been somewhat surprising.
"I'd say [the] rapid rise of the tablet," Dell said in response to the Journal's question on what has surprised him most over the past several years. "I didn't completely see that coming."