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Google has smartphones sussed but now the green man is eating into Apple’s share of the tab pie.

20121206095155dfc0b 300x300 Android: Tab Comeback Kid

Overall, tablet appetite is soaring to dizzy new heights as the iPad and Nexus lure us to mini PCs.

New IDC data notes a fresh global surge for Android tabs-like Google’s Nexus and Samsung Galaxy Tabs-as well as the leader of the pack, Apple’s iPad and its mini, all selling like hot cakes.

The analysts now have upped their 2012 forecast for tab shipments to 122.3 million – (+5 m), and also raised its 2013 estimates to 172.4 m, thanks to the “strong competitive landscape.”

“Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower prices points,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC research director, Tablets.

Android’s traction is thanks to “solid” well spec-ed, low cost tabs from Google’s Nexus range, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Samsung, and others, notes IDC.

“The breadth and depth of Android has taken full effect on the tablet market as it has for the smartphone space,” said Ryan Reith, IDC.

The analysts have also upped its predictions for underdog Android, and forecasts the OS will power almost 43% of all tablets worldwide by end of the year, at the expense of rival Apple.

At 2012 close, Apple’s share will slip 2.5% to 54% in 2012, and is set to slide to less than 50% by 2016.

However, IDC’s Mainelli believes the iPad mini launch, along with the refreshed iPad 4, places leader Apple in a strong position for the crucial holiday season.

So, what about Microsoft Windows?

Windows-based tablets (including 8 and RT) will grab share from both iOS and Android, growing from 3% this year to over 10% in 2016, say IDC.

 

And by 2016, global tab shipments will be double what they are now – at 282.7m, IDC predicts.

“Android tablet shipments will certainly act as the catalyst for growth in the low-cost segment in emerging markets given the platform’s low barrier to entry on manufacturing.”

However, there is one loser in the tabs race- apart from notebooks, netbooks and desktop PCs that is – the humble eReader.

IDC lowered its forecast for eReaders for 2012 and beyond and expects eReader shipments to top out at 19.9 m this year , down from the 27.7 m shipped in 2011.

“While the front-lit eReader offerings from Amazon and Barnes & Noble have captured the interest of a subset of consumers who prefer a dedicated eReader, most buyers are gravitating toward multi-use tablet products and finding a ‘good enough’ reading experience on these traditional back-lit tablets.”

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