The recent report also indicates that tablet sales rose by 56% in Q4 2011, leading the International Data Corporation to revise its forecasts upwards for 2012 and beyond.
The data analysis firm now says that 28.2 million tablets were sold worldwide in Q4 2011, representing an increase of 155% over the previous quarter.
For the full year, 68.7 million tablets were sold in 2011, which prompted IDC to increase its 2012 forecast to 106.1 million units, which is up from its previous forecast of 87.7 million units.
Other facts in IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker:
- Amazon shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fires in 2011.
- Samsung grew its market share from 5.5% in Q3 to 5.8% in Q4.
- Barnes & Noble's worldwide market share slipped to 3.5% from 4.5%.
- Pandigital was the fifth top tablet seller, gaining 2.5% of the market in Q4 2011.
- RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook saw its market share drop from 1.1% to 0.7%
- WebOS, which controlled 5% of the market in Q3 2011, dropped to zero in Q4.
Not surprisingly, Apple continues to see strong growth. The iPad maker sold 15.4 million tablets in Q4 2011, up from 11.1 million units in Q3 2011. However, as more Android tablets gain traction, the updated analysis says, Apple's market share is beginning to erode.
As a result of in-roads made by the Kindle Fire and another Android devices, Apple saw its market share fall from 61.5% in Q3 2011 to 54.7% In Q4 2011.
"Amazon's widely-reported entry into the media tablet market with a $199, 7-inch product seemed to rasise consumers' awareness of the category worldwide despite the fact that the Fire shipped almost exclusively in the U.S. in the fourth quarter," said Tom Mainelli, IDC research director for Mobile Connected Devices.
More surprising is IDC's forecast around the Android market. Thanks largely to the success of the Kindle Fire, which runs a customized variant of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, Android tablets grew in market share from 32.3% in Q4 2011 to 44.6% in Q4.
IDC forecasts that while the iPad will remain dominant for the foreseeable future, Google's tablet OS will overtake Apple in market share in 2015. However, said Mainelli, "We expect iOS to remain the revenue market share leader through the end of our 2016 forecast period and beyond."