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Android tablets challenge iPad dominance


Amazon's Kindle Fire

Amazon's Kindle Fire

Amazon's Kindle Fire

APPLE'S iPad accounted for 58pc of the global tablet market in the last quarter of 2011, but Google’s Android has climbed rapidly and now clams 39pc.

The figures from Strategy Analytics reveal that Apple sold more than twice as many tablets in the last quarter of 2011 as it did in the corresponding period in the previous year.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet was reported by Strategy Analytics as the key reason for Apple’s decline from 68pc to 58pc of the global market.

The firm estimates that the total tablet market grew from 10.7m in the last quarter of 2010 to 26.8m in the same period of 2011. Within that, total Android sales tripled to 10.5 million worldwide. Combined BlackBerry PlayBook and Windows 7 tablet sales accounted for fewer than a million units.

Accurate information on Google tablet sales is, however, difficult to verify. Not all tablets use a version of Android that cannot also run on mobile phones, so data analysing ‘version share’ is not reliable. Google itself has been talking up Android’s success and at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt talked about the operating system being on track to sell a billion units.

Data from analysts IHS, suggests however, that Apple has regained its lead in smartphone sales, after briefly being overtaken by Samsung.

“Apple returned to the Number one rank in global smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter as consumers flocked to buy the newly introduced iPhone 4S,” IHS said. It added, however, that “based on strong sales of its broad line of smartphone products, Samsung has become the world’s largest smartphone brand for the entire year of 2011”.

Apple shipped 37 million smartphones worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 17 million in the second quarter. Samsung, overall in 2011, shipped 95 million smartphones, up 278 percent from 25 million in 2010.

IHS also warned, however, that “The relatively small growth of Sony Ericsson and Motorola may indicate that the Android smartphone market is becoming too crowded as the various licensees compete for limited consumer mindshare and shelf space.” Sony recently claimed an Android tablet lead.