THE OPEN SOURCE Android operating system from Google was loaded onto 22 per cent of tablet devices sold in the last quarter of 2010.
Figures from research outfit Strategy Analytics showed that 9.7 million tablets were sold in the final three months of 2010 and that Android was loaded on 2.1 million of those devices. The figures also showed what everyone already knew, that Apple's Ipad still commands a healthy lead in the tablet market, taking over 75 per cent of sales in the last quarter of 2010. However things are not looking all that great for Apple, according to the market research firm.
Not only did Apple's market share drop from 95.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2010 to 75.3 per cent in the fourth quarter, but Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics said, "Tablet makers like Android because of its perceived low cost and an accompanying range of compelling media services such as Youtube and Google Maps."
The firm added that it expects Android tablets to take more market share during the first half of 2011. It said major manufacturers are about enter the market, such as Motorola with its Xoom tablet, and that a snowball effect could occur with the growing number of Android devices making them a "more attractive [operating system] for media developers in the United States and worldwide".
Strategy Analytics puts Android's market share gain primarily down to Samsung's Galaxy Tab. Samsung is expected to announce the successor to the Galaxy Tab in the coming weeks and, with Google set to launch Android 3.0 Honeycomb on Wednesday, all of the signs point to Android taking a significant share of the tablet market in 2011.
Although the figures from Strategy Analytics confirm Apple's dominance in the tablet market, its significant drop in market share over the last three months of 2010 is a warning for the fruit themed toymaker. Samsung's Galaxy Tab was the main competitor to the Ipad in 2010 and this year not only are a number of firms going to come out with Android tablets, but Google itself is stepping up and launching Android 3.0, which is designed specifically for tablets.
It looks like both Google and tablet manufacturers won't be allowing Apple to corner the market like it did with the Iphone. Apple, on the other hand, can only hope that the promise of a second generation Ipad launch later this Spring will tempt punters to hold off buying an Android tablet. µ