Not many people will argue with the fact that Apple introduced the first mainstream tablet into the market and changed the shape of mobile computing with their iPad. Sales of iPads have supported this thus far and the Android tablet market hasn’t been regarded as all that much of a threat despite vast volumes of Android tablets being churned out from huge corporations right through to small startups.
Cue Q4 2011 and things are a-changing. A report published by the Strategy Analytics Tablet and Touchscreen service suggests that while Apple haven’t got anything to worry about in terms of ailing sales, they definitely need to pay attention to the little green robot on their tale, given the fact that Android tablet sales tripled over the final three months of 2011 giving them an all-time high marketshare of 39% of tablets sold in the face of Apple’s 58%.
With global tablet shipments reaching an all-time high of 26.8 million units in Q4 (a 150% bump up from the previous year) and a total 66.9 million shipping in 2011, tablets have become big business for Google and Apple. That said, it isn’t all joy, with Microsoft’s 1.5% marketshare looking somewhat paltry in the face of iOS and Android’s dominance.
With Android being a newer tablet OS than iOS, it’s little wonder that it’s gained traction a little later in the game. If you recall Android’s original smartphone launch on the T-Mobile G1, very few people would have predicted it would have taken off as it has. In turn, it makes sense to use history as a model and expect the Android iOS wars to ensue on slates for the foreseeable future, with Windows to tag along a little late in the game, albeit with attractive live tiles, Segoe Typeface and Nokia on board.