Preston Gralla

Microsoft Surface could soon become the second most popular tablet

December 13, 2013 2:23 PM EST

Microsoft's Surface tablet is on the verge of becoming the second best-selling tablet, behind only the iPad, and ahead of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Google Nexus, and the Amazon Kindle Fire. Is this a fluke or a sign of things to come?

ChangeWave Research's most recent figures show that 8% of people who plan on buying tablets in the next 90 days plan on buying a Surface, behind the iPad with 72%, the Samsung Galaxy Tab with 9%, and the Google Nexus, with 9%. Only 5% of people said they planned to buy the Amazon Kindle Fire.

So why could the Surface soon become the second best-selling tablet? Because in the previous survey, conducted in August, 13% of people had plans to buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab, 12% had plans to buy the Google Nexus, and 7% had plans to buy the Surface. Interest in the Galaxy Tab and Nexus is tanking, while interest in the Surface is rising. In fact, apart from the iPad, the Surface was the only tablet that showed in increase in the number of people who planned to buy it. (Interest in the iPad rocketed from 55% in August to 72% in November.)

Is it a fluke? Likely not. Microsoft has been spending heavily to market the Surface line, and the Windows 8.1 upgrade has made Windows tablets more palatable to potential buyers. There's also other evidence that the Surface is showing signs of life. Microsoft's Windows RT-based Surface tablet was the best-selling item at Best Buy on Black Friday, ahead of the Apple's iPad. That was a markdown deal on the old generation Surface, but still, it shows consumer interest in the line. And TechCrunch analyzed Google Trends search data recently, and found that the Surface 2 far outstrip past searches for its predecessors, the Surface RT and Surface Pro. That shows an uptick in interest as well.

So it appears that the Surface is here to stay. It's unlikely to become a serious iPad competitor, but it becoming the second most popular tablet would give Microsoft plenty to crow about.