Android surpassed iOS to become top tablet software in 2013, says research

Android has passed iOS to become the top operating system for tablets worldwide, according to research firm Gartner.

Android's tablet marketshare grew to 62 per cent during 2013, compared to iOS' 36 per cent during the same period, according to the research. Microsoft bowed in comparison, sitting at 2.1 per cent marketshare.

The new feat adds to Google's dominance as a mobile player, as Android has been the top smartphone software on the market for sometime. Now it has the lead on the larger form-factor too, thanks to it making Android available to a number of vendors, rather than Apple who only lets itself use iOS.

The tablet market as a whole saw a great 2013, with shipments reaching 195.4 million, up 68 per cent. Gartner's research found that smaller tablets drove the majority of growth for the market, offering affordability and adequate specifications to first time tablet buyers.

Android is responsible for the majority of smaller tablets on the market, which helped lead its growth during the time period. The Asus Nexus 7 with Google's backing and the Samsung Galaxy Tab series gave customers an affordable tablet with plenty of speed. Apple's iPad mini appealed to higher end buyers.

"Apple's tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and, Apple's approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share”, Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said.

Even with the shift to Android as the software leader, Apple still holds its top spot as manufacturer of tablets. Compared to 2012 it went from 52.8 per cent marketshare, down to 36 per cent marketshare in 2013. Samsung on the other hand grew in 2013 to 19.1 per cent, from 7.4 per cent in 2012.

Is there a market shift happening?