Inside the Tablet Market: Android Gaining on Apple’s iPad?

Rethink-wireless reports this morning that the latest numbers on tablet market share show that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which razed the ground this week with third quarter earnings that blew away analysts and investors, may be seeing the emergence of some real competition in the tablet market with the iPad. “Apple’s share of the fledgling sector has fallen from a massive 94% in the second quarter last year, to a still healthy 61% in Q211, according to estimates by Strategy Analytics”.

It appears that its none other than the company’s smart phone nemesis, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), that is slowly leeching tablet customers away from the uber-popular iPad. Android models are rising quickly in the tablets markets, say recent data collectors, as Android OS products accounted for 30% of tablet shipments last month, withe the remaining 7% spread out among HPs (NYSE:HPQ) webOS tablets, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) windows OS models, and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) MeeGo tablets. Research in Motion (RIMM) tablets accounted for 3.1% of shipments last quarter.

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Android OS models are hedging their bets for now, with a number of different distributors, Samsung (NYSE:SEO), Motorola (NYSE:MMI), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) all releasing their own tablets on the operating system. While the group has collectively making steady gains against the iPad over the past year, analysts say the emergence of one Android frontrunner is likely, and possibly necessary, to displace or rival Apple from the throne of the consumer tablet market. Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, adds, “Multiple Android models distributed across multiple countries by multiple brands such as Samsung, Acer, Asus, Motorola and others are driving volumes. However, no Android vendor yet offers a blockbuster model to rival the iPad, and demand for many Android vendors’ products remains patchy. If Amazon decides to enter the Android tablet category later this year, that will bring fresh excitement and buzz to the Android community, but Amazon will need to deliver a truly stand-out offering if it really wants to make headway against the popular iPad.”