Android Tablets Are Starting To Catch Up To iPad

Apple’s iPads, including the new iPad mini, have become the most successful tablets every built. Almost three years after Steve Jobs introduced the original iPad, the device continues to be the king of slates, with more than half of the tablet market share. That hasn’t changed much in 2012, but Android tablets have slowly been eating away at its market share, and it may not be long before they dominate.

Research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) revealed today that iPad market share is expected to slip to 53.8% by the end of 2012, from 56.3% in 2011. Android tablets, on the other hand, will increase their share from 39.8% to 42.7%.

IDC expects worldwide market tablet shipments to have reached 122.3 million units over the year, which is an increase on its previous forecast of 117.1 million. During 2013, IDC expects tablet shipments to reach 172.4 million units, an increase on its previous estimate of 165.9 million units.

“Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower prices points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond,” research director of tablets Tom Mainelli told Reuters.

Microsoft’s Windows tablets are also expected to gain some traction over the next few years, though it won’t be much. IDC predicts it will grab around 2.9% of the market share in 2012, rising to 10.2% by 2016.