Tablet Market Share: Google Android Rapidly Catching Up to Apple iOS

Apple's enjoyed market dominance in the tablet space ever since it released its original iPad, which fine tuned and popularized the form factor on a consumer level. Going up against the open source nature of Android, however, is no easy task, and now that Google's hardware partners aren't trying to compete exclusively in the $500 range, as was the case when Android tablets first debuted, it's only a matter of time before the little green robot kicks iOS off its throne. It may happen sooner than you think.

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global branded tablet shipments are surging, jumping 117 percent from 18.7 million units in the first quarter of 2012 to 40.6 million units in Q1 of 2013. During that same period, Android increased its share of the tablet pie from 34.2 percent to 43.4 percent, giving itself a much bigger slice of the market.

Tablet Market Share Table
Source: Strategy Analytics

Android is almost caught up to Apple's iOS platform. Apple's share of the market a year ago was 63.1 percent, but with increased competition from affordable Android devices, iOS is now barely ahead with a 48.2 percent share. If we do the math, the separation in tablet market share between iOS and Android is just 4.8 percent, down significantly from 28.9 percent a year ago. And keep in mind we're only talking about branded tablets.

Google Nexus 10

"When we add white-box tablets into the mix, Android market share of the total tablet market increases significantly to 52 percent and iOS slips to 41 percent, as the bulk of the white-box tablets are Android low budget models aimed at a different market to the branded tablets," said Peter King, Director of Tablets at Strategy Analytics.

Even without white-box tablets in the mix, it looks like Android will take the lead before the end of 2013.

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