Despite impressive sales of the iPad, Apple saw its tablet market share drop from 95 percent to 77 percent, in the last quarter of 2010, as shipments of Google Android-based tablets started to chip away at the company’s lead, according to a report by research firm Strategy Analytics.
Sales of the first competitors to Apple’s iPad have begun to take off, resulting in the combined market share for tablets running the Google Android OS increasing nearly tenfold in the last quarter of 2010, said Strategy Analytics.
Last quarter, the firm reported that Apple, with almost no serious competition, held 95 percent of the tablet market, with Android tablets representing just 2.3 percent of the market.
Apple reported record sales of 7.3 million iPads in the last quarter of 2010, while Android shipments jumped from just 100,000 units to 2.1 million, according to the report.
“The Samsung Galaxy Tab was the main driver of Android success,” said Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics. “Tablet makers like Android because of its perceived low cost and an accompanying range of compelling media services such as YouTube and Google Maps.”
Samsung announced that sales of the Galaxy Tab had reached 600,000 in its first month and 2 million tablets in the whole of the fourth quarter.
Apple will face further competition later this year when Motorola and Research in Motion launch tablets of their own. And Google releases a version of the Android OS named ‘Honeycomb’ — reportedly built specifically for tablet devices.
BlackBerry maker RIM is working on the PlayBook 7-inch tablet, which, like Motorola’s Xoom, is due for launch by the end of the first quarter of 2011. However, a recent survey by the Royal Bank of Canada suggests that prelaunch interest in the PlayBook is well behind that of the iPad.
Apple itself is rumoured to be preparing to launch the iPad 2 in April 2010, which is widely expected to include front and back cameras and an improved screen and performance.