The past year has been pretty good for Android OS, according to tablet figures released by Strategy Analytics.
Global shipments of tablets hit an all-time high at 26.8 million units in Q4 2011, and Android snagged a substantial piece of the pie. Last quarter, Android snagged 39.1% of the market share, a 10% increase from Q4 2010 where they only had 29% of the market share.
Shipments of Android tablets more than tripled year-over-year from 3.1 million to 10.5 million.
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Android captured a record 39 percent share of global tablet shipments in Q4 2011, rising from 29 percent a year earlier. Global Android tablet shipments tripled annually to 10.5 million units. 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.”
As you can see, Apple still maintained a strong lead in tablet sales, more than doubling their shipments in the last year. They did lose about 10% of market share to Android OS, however, falling to 57.6% worldwide.
Apple's shipment numbers are made even more impressive when you learn one little caveat of this study. The Android sales numbers refer to "sell-in" figures, meaning they include "sales" to retailers. Those may of may not actually translate to sales to customers. The Apple number (15.43 million) refers to actual sales to customers, not just iPads and iPad 2s that were shipped to be sold.
But on the flip side, the study doesn't include e-readers, even ones like the Nook Color that straddle the line between e-reader and tablet (and operate on Android OS).
When you see reports like this, it's always amazing that Apple is able to maintain such a hold on market share with basically one device (split into two forms). Are you warming up to Android OS tablets? Or do you think that iPads are still the king? Let us know in the comments.