Apple’s iPad light-years ahead of the Android tablet pack

Apple’s iPad claimed 85% of the media tablet market in 2010, with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab weighing in at 8% and Archos at a paltry 2%.

According to ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr, the tablet market – along with other portable devices – “surged” during the second half of 2010.

“Device categories including netbooks and mobile broadband-enabled eBook Readers showed gains in year-over-year shipment numbers in 2010,” explained Orr.

”The hype that media tablets were displacing portable computers and dedicated CE device purchases simply didn’t become a reality.”

The analyst also noted many new entrants to the tablet market were looking to differentiate themselves from the $600+ ASP of the iPad, which would ultimately lead to a slew of low-feature and low-cost designs.

“We expect between 40 and 50 million media tablets to ship worldwide in 2011.

“With increasing choices for consumers and greater opportunities for businesses to consider ultra-mobile devices, we expect multiple device categories to benefit in the near-term,” added Orr.

Goldman Sachs, however, seemed to disagree with ABI’s hypothesis that media tablets weren’t displacing traditional, portable PCs. 

Indeed, a recently published report written by the investment company termed tablets “one of the most disruptive forces in computing” in nearly 30 years – and estimated such devices will cannibalize about 35% of the PC market in 2011.

“This should result in a theoretical loss of 21 million notebooks in 2011 and 26.5 million in 2012,” claimed the report.

The report also projected that 60.1 million tablets will be sold in 2011, with Apple owning 64% of the tablet market this year.