Apple doubles iPad shipments but Android gains ground

The Q4 2011 tablet results are in and, despite Apple growing its global iPad shipments - increasing 111 per cent year on year - from 7.3 million to 15.4 million, there will be concern in the Cupertino board room that its market dominance is declining.

And that's because of the rise in status of the Android tab market share; increasing by 3.1 million units shipped in the last quarter of 2010 to 10.5 million units in the same period of 2011.

That means Apple's ascendancy has waned from 68.2 per cent to 57.6 per cent and Android's has grown by more than 10 per cent to sit at around the 39 per cent mark.

Still a huge lead for Apple, and all the more astonishing given that it is up against a slew of Android tablets in all shapes and sizes from multiple manufacturers but this is the first real sign that Android could become the dominant tablet OS.

Microsoft sits on a lowly 1.5 per cent share although this is sure to rise once the bevy of Windows 8 tablets hit the shops before the end of the year. There's no specific mention of BlackBerry, so we presume it's included in the 1.9 per cent share marked "others".

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said: "Dozens of Android models distributed across multiple countries by numerous brands such as Amazon, Samsung, Asus and others have been driving volumes. Android is so far proving relatively popular with tablet manufacturers despite nagging concerns about fragmentation of Android’s operating system, user-interface and app store ecosystem."

Overall, global tablet shipments hit 66.9 million units in 2011, a massive 260 per cent surge from 18.6 million in 2010.

Peter King, director at Strategy Analytics, said: "Global tablet shipments reached an all-time high of 26.8 million units in Q4 2011, surging 150 per cent from 10.7 million in Q4 2010. Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong."

It's a tablet revolution, that's for sure, and with Ice Cream Sandwich devices expected to land by the bucket load, Windows 8 all set for an assault and the highly anticipated iPad 3 on the horizon, 2012 looks like being a bumper year.



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