The modern tablet market, much like the smartphone market before it, was almost entirely created by Apple. Once again, however, the more open Android operating system now appears to be dominating the space that Apple pioneered.
According to second quarter shipment numbers from analyst firm Strategy Analytics, Android-based tablets now account for a full two-thirds of the tablet market. 34.6 million Android tablets were shipped during the second quarter of 2013, almost double the 18.5 million tablets that shipped during the second quarter of 2012.
"Global branded tablet shipments reached 36.2 million units in Q2 2013, up 4% from 24.6 million in Q2 2012," said Peter King, director of the tablet division at Strategy Analytics. "The branded tablet market had a rest period as very few new products came to market during the quarter. When we add in white-box tablets, shipments reached 51.7 million units, up 43% from 36.1 million in Q2 2012. Android is now making steady progress due to hardware partners like Samsung, Amazon, Google and White-Box tablets which, despite the fact that branded OEMs are lowering price-points and putting pressure on the white-box manufacturers, are still performing well."
Apple did not fare as well during the second quarter. The company's iPad shipments were down year-over-year, and its tablet market share has now fallen to 28.3% - a drastic drop from its 47.2% market share one year ago.
"Apple iOS shipments were 14.6 million iPads in Q2 2013 which declined 14% annually," said King. "In the same quarter a year ago the first 'Retina' display iPads were launched which could partly explain the decline as there were no new models in this quarter. However, to compensate that, iPad Mini which was not available a year ago, now freely available was expected to take the figure higher than 14.6 million."
The quarterly report also found that Windows 8 now has a full 4.5% share of the tablet market, up from only 0.5% last year. Microsoft recently cut the price of its Surface RT tablets to $349 due to slow sales of the device.