Google hoped Android to be on 1/3 of all tablets by 2011

Acheived goal of 10 million sold, but missed marketshare substantially.

The software company Oracle is suing Google over the latter's use of Oracle's intellectual property in its Android operating system, and the trial is shaping up to be an illuminating look at the inside of Google over the period in which it built up to launching its first phone.

Today, we find out that, as of July 2010, Google expected to sell 10 million Android tablets over the course of 2011, and to capture a third of the entire tablet market.

Those are big figures, given at the time there wasn't a single Android tablet available. Two years on, and it seems like the first of the goals has been achieved, but the second is a long way off. The Verge reported in February that 12 million Android tablets had been sold, a figure which doesn't count tablets like Amazon's Kindle Fire which run on the Android operating system but don't have any of the hooks into Google's software suite.

As for the marketshare target, it appears Google – or rather, Morgan Stanley, upon whose analysis the figures are based – underestimated the potential size of the tablet market. They assumed that there would be 46 million sold by the end of 2012. In fact, Apple alone has sold 67 million iPads, with two thirds of the year (including Christmas) left to go.

The path ahead doesn't look any clearer for Google in the tabloid market. Comscore today reported that more than half of all Android tablets sold in February were Kindle Fires. These tablets run Android, and are cross compatible with a number of apps, but have none of Google's proprietary software installed, and so offer the advertising giant no easy way to monetize their use. The success of the Kindle Fire would be good for Android qua open source operating system, but not so good for Android qua Google's saviour from the declining returns of search advertising.

Google has a long way to go in the tablet space, and its start can't have been helped by thinking that a sizeable market share was a fait accompli.

An Android tablet is demonstrated at CES in Las Vegas. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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John McDonnell praises New Labour as he enters conciliatory mode

The shadow chancellor sought to build a bridge between the past and the present by crediting the 1997 government. 

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, John McDonnell has been on a mission to reinvent himself as a kinder, gentler politician. He hasn’t always succeeded. In July, the shadow chancellor declared of rebel MPs: “As plotters they were fucking useless”.

But in his Labour conference speech, Corbyn’s closest ally was firmly in conciliatory mode. McDonnell thanked Owen Smith for his part in defeating the Personal Independence Payment cuts. He praised Caroline Flint, with whom he has clashed, for her amendment to the financial bill on corporate tax transparency. Jonathan Reynolds, who will soon return to the frontbench, was credited for the “patriots pay their taxes” campaign (the latter two not mentioned in the original text).

McDonnell’s ecunmenicism didn’t end here. The 1997 Labour government, against which he and Corbyn so often defined themselves, was praised for its introduction of the minimum wage (though McDonnell couldn’t quite bring himself to mention Tony Blair). Promising a “real Living Wage” of around £10 per hour, the shadow chancellor sought to build a bridge between the past and the present. Though he couldn’t resist adding some red water as he closed: “In this party you no longer have to whisper it, it's called socialism. Solidarity!”

As a rebuke to those who accuse him of seeking power in the party, not the country, McDonnell spoke relentlessly of what the next Labour “government” would do. He promised a £250bn National Investment Bank, a “Right to Own” for employees, the repeal of the Trade Union Act and declared himself “interested” in the potential of a Universal Basic Income. It was a decidedly wonkish speech, free of the attack lines and jokes that others serve up.

One of the more striking passages was on McDonnell’s personal story (a recurring feature of Labour speeches since Sadiq Khan’s mayoral victory). “I was born in the city [Liverpool], not far from here,” he recalled. “My dad was a Liverpool docker and my mum was a cleaner who then served behind the counter at British Homes Stores for 30 years. I was part of the 1960's generation.  We lived in what sociological studies have described as some of the worst housing conditions that exist within this country. We just called it home.”

In his peroration, he declared: “In the birthplace of John Lennon, it falls to us to inspire people to imagine.” Most Labour MPs believe that a government led by Corbyn and McDonnell will remain just that: imaginary. “You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one,” the shadow chancellor could have countered. With his praise for New Labour, he began the work of forging his party’s own brotherhood of man.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.