A new report from Strategy Analytics says that Android tablets made up 39% of the global tablet market in the last quarter of 2011, as Apple’s share slid from 68% to 58% and Microsoft’s stayed at a lowly 1.5%.
Overall shipments for the quarter more than doubled over last year, rising from 10.7 million units in Q4 of 2010, to hit 26.8 million this time around. Tablet shipments for the year skyrocketed from 18.6 million in 2010 and 66.9 million units in 2011.
"Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong," said Strategy Analytics' Peter King.
The research shows that Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads between October and December 2011, with Android shipments reaching 10.5 million units over the same period.
Although these figures do note a decline for Apple market share, they are generally in line with the findings of other market researchers, who expect tablets running Android operating systems to nibble away at the iPad’s dominance in the coming year.
This increase in Android popularity may be down to the improvements that have been made on Google tablets in the last year (for instance, new quad-core processors and more Android tablets running the tablet-optimized Honeycomb operating system). It will be interesting to see if Android can maintain and improve on this gap when the iPad 3 is launched.
The graph below details global tablet shipments and are based on sell-in figures.