Declining iPad shipments allowed Android tablets to grab more market share than ever in the last three months, as shipments for Android devices more than doubled to 10.2 million units, according to a new study.
Research firm Strategy Analytics reports that worldwide Android tablet shipment numbers still trailed behind iPad's in the last three months, but estimates that they doubled from 5 million during the same period last year to now 10.2 million. And Android's market share grew from 29.2 percent to 41.3 percent (while Apple's fell from 64.5 percent to 56.7 percent).
No single Android vendor (e.g. Samsung) came anywhere close to matching Apple's volume of shipments, but the contributions from dozens of Google partners are helping Android tablets catch up. Android-based devices have also dominated the 7-inch mini-tablet space with Asus' Nexus 7 (pictured) and Amazon's Kindle Fire.
But Apple is heading into the holidays with its own 7.9-inch tablet, the newly announced iPad Mini, and many game developers tell Gamasutra that the device is likely to dramatically increase Apple's tablet market share. While it's the cheapest iPad Apple's ever sold at $329, it's still significantly more expensive than its rivals.
Microsoft has also just launched the Surface, its own tablet based on the Windows RT operating system (a version using Windows 8 will release in January). Prior to the Surface, the market share for Windows-based tablets dropped from 2.3 percent last year to now 1.6 percent -- shipments remained at around 400,000.
Strategy Analytics' "Global Tablet OS Market Share: Q3 2012" report found that year-over-year total growth for the global tablet market also fell from 288.6 percent in Q3 2011 (17.2 million tablet shipments total) to 43.4 percent in Q3 2012 (24.7 million tablet shipments total).