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Global Tablet Market Doubles As Android Share Increases

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Android tablet manufacturers sell more than ever, eating into Apple’s stranglehold on the market

Global tablet sales increased year-on-year in the last quarter of 2011, with Google’s Android operating system being the main beneficiaries as it increased its market share.

Android tablets accounted for 39 percent of the market in the final three months of last year, an increase of 29 percent a year earlier.

Android Assault

Android’s gains came at the expense of Apple, whose share dropped from 68 percent to 58 percent, while Microsoft limped home with a 1.5 percent share.

Shipments of all tablets more than doubled from 10.7 million a year ago, with 28.6 million units shipped during the quarter. The number of tablets shipped during the entire of 2011 more than trebled to 66.9m from 18.6 million in 2010.

Android’s increased share was predicted by many who thought that the likes of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet would finally challenge Apple’s domination of the tablet market.

It was revealed in November last year that the iPad still controls 83 percent of the total US market, but that is predicted to fall in the near future, not only because of Android, but also the impending release of Windows 8. Tablets powered by Android have traditionally struggled against Apple, but the low-cost Amazon Kindle Fire was on track to sell more than four million units over the Christmas period.

The battle is set to continue next year as both Samsung and Apple are preparing to refresh their Galaxy Tab and iPad product lines with new devices boasting “retina” displays. However it is becoming an increasingly bitter battle, with Apple engaged in numerous lawsuits against Samsung, which it has accused of stealing design elements of the iPad and using them in the Galaxy Tab 10.1