updated 07:40 am EST, Thu January 26, 2012
Android tablets rise to 29pc only via Amazon help
The Amazon Kindle Fire may have saved Android's share of tablets, Strategy Analytics reckoned from its calculation of shipments. Although the research firm didn't break down individual model numbers, the known strong Kindle Fire sales could be credited to Android more than tripling tablet shipments versus a year ago, to 10.5 million units. Apple's 15.4 million iPads still kept it in the clear majority, at 57.6 percent, but Android now had 39.1 percent of the fledgling category.
The full extent of Microsoft's trouble in tablets, meanwhile, became fully evident. At just 400,000 Windows tablets shipped in the fall, Microsoft had 1.5 percent of the market, leaving it in the "niche" it has had for nearly a decade. Apple's iPad is well-known to have outsold Windows tablets' eight years of cumulative sales in just nine months, and it was apparent in the study that Microsoft was still waiting on a solution.
"The upcoming release of Windows 8 this year cannot come quickly enough for Microsoft, so its hardware partners can start competing more effectively in the tablet space," analysts said.
As much as low-cost tablets like the Kindle Fire impacted Apple, the company still "shrugged off" the threat, Strategy Analytics added. While unofficial, signs exist that Apple could regain much of the share it lost. Kindle Fire shipments may have been cut in half, and most Android device builders won't have refreshes until the spring. Apple has established an early pattern of launching new iPads in early spring and, if it ships in March, may avoid the seasonal slump expected from Android.