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iPad days could be numbered as Android tabs capture 40%, pushing Apple’s market share south.

2012012712351864183 300x300 iPad Beware! Android Tabs Eat Into Apple: Analysts
Green invasion: Android gaining on iPad, say analysts.

Global tablet shipments swelled to an “all time high” 27 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to researchers Strategy Analytics, a whopping 150% jump compared to Q4 2010.

Android tabs, including the likes of Asus’ Transformer Prime (soon to hit OZ) Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Acer’s Iconia have increased share to 39% – a 10% jump compared to a year ago.

Microsoft tabs account  still remain a “niche” accounting for 1.5% of all devices shipped.

Consumers are  buying tablets in preference to netbooks, notebooks or desktops, says analysts and global shipments hit 66.9m for the full-year 2011, surging a massive 260% y-o-y.

Android shipped 10.5 million tabs in total during Oct- Dec period- triple what it did Q4 2010 – and quickly catching up with tab leader Apple’s 15.4m shipments.

However, Apple maintains a 58% lead with one single device – iPad – down from 68.2% dominance it enjoyed the previous year. 

This week, it announced it sold a whopping 15.43 million iPads during the Oct – Dec period.

Apple is placing a lot of bets on its iPad, launching the iBook 2 app for education, and now says most of the Fortune 500 companies support the iPad over other devices.

Apple boss Tim Cook also pooh poohed rival Tabs, like Amazon’s budget $199 Kindle Fire, dismissing the 7″ Android as a “limited function” eReader rather thean a high end iPad.

“People really want to do multiple things with their tablet. We don’t see the limited eReaders in the same category.”

However, he admitted rivals like Amazon will probably sell a “fair number” of tabs. And analysts agree, noting “Apple shrugged off the much-hyped threat from entry-level Android models this quarter.”

 

However, there is some other “nagging concerns” surrounding rising star Android, analysts warn:

“Dozens of Android models distributed across multiple countries by numerous brands such as Amazon, Samsung, Asus and others have been driving volumes.

“Android is so far proving relatively popular with tablet manufacturers despite nagging concerns about fragmentation of Android’s operating system, user-interface and app store ecosystem.”

Microsoft captured a “niche” share during Q4, Strategy notes, citing a newcomer Windows 8 tablets in 2012, which could alter the tab market, many believe.

 “The upcoming release of Windows 8 this year cannot come quickly enough for Microsoft, so its hardware partners can start competing more effectively in the tablet space.”

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