Battle of the tablets: Apple leads but Android is hot on its heels

25 Apr 2013

The fourth-generation Apple iPad tablet computer

Apple continues to hold the largest share of the global tablet market, at 48.2pc, followed closely by Android, which now has 43.3pc of the world market. Microsoft’s Windows 8 has made a significant impression and is on 7.4pc of the world’s tablet devices.

What a difference a year makes. According to Strategy Analytics, this time last year Apple’s iPad had 63pc of the world tablet market and Android was trailing way behind at 34.2pc. Microsoft didn’t even factor in the tablet business in the first quarter of 2012.

According to Strategy Analytics, some 40.6m tablets shipped in the first quarter of 2013, out of which 19.5m were iPads, 17.6m were Android-based devices and 3m were Windows 8-based tablet PCs.

The number of devices have surged 117pc year-on-year.

“Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong,” explained Peter King, director of tablets at Strategy Analytics.

“Apple produced a solid performance this quarter, as the iPad mini had its first full term, and shipped a robust 19.5m mixed iPads worldwide maintaining market leadership with 48pc share during the first quarter of 2013.

“Android captured a record 43pc share of global branded tablet shipments in Q1 2013, rising from 34pc a year earlier.

“Global Android tablet shipments increase 177pc annually to 17.6m units,” King said.

He said that when white box tablet devices are added into the mix, the Android share of the total market exceeds 52pc and iOS slips to 41pc as the bulk of white box devices are low-budget Android devices.

While Microsoft captured a niche 7.4pc of global tablet share, limited distribution and a shortage of top-tier apps, as well as confusion in the market, are all holding back shipments.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years