Android tablets 'catching up with iPad'

Tablet devices which use Google's Android operating system are gaining ground on Apple's iPad, according to new global sales figures.

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Statistics released by Strategy Analytics show that Android tablets accounted for 39 per cent of sales in the last three months of 2011 - while Apple's share fell to 58 per cent.

The Android figure was up 10 per cent on the same period a year before, while the iPad figure was down 10 per cent.

Total shipments of tablets hit 26.8 million for the quarter, a massive increase on the 10.7 million shipped in the same three months in 2010.

And the bigger picture is shown by total shipments for 2011 hitting 66.9 million - compared to just 18.6 million the year previously.

There are several manufacturers making devices which use Android, including Samsung and Amazon - and some analysts predict that it will continue to gain ground on Apple as more affordable alternatives to the market-leading iPad become available.

There was better news for Apple in some other research released yesterday by Kantar Worldpanel Com Tech - showing that the company's share of the US smartphone market doubled to 44.9 per cent in the last quarter of 2011.

A Kantar spokesman said: "Overall, Apple sales are now growing at a faster rate than Android across the nine countries we cover."

Apple sold 37.04 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2011.

What do you reckon? Can Android tablets catch the iPad? Comment below...