Android overtakes iOS on tablet devices for the first time

Apple’s iOS share fell to 36 per cent in 2013, compared to 52 per cent a year earlier

Google’s Android is now the most popular operating system for tablet devices with 62 per cent of the market, up from 46 per cent in 2012.

New figures from the research firm Gartner show that Apple's iOS share fell to 36 per cent in 2013, compared to 52 per cent a year earlier as low-end smaller screen tablets and first-time buyers chose Android-powered devices over iPads.

According to Gartner, worldwide tablet sales grew 68 per cent last year with sales of Android devices up 127 per cent.

“In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at the research firm.


Gartner analysts said emerging markets recorded growth of 145 per cent in 2013, while mature markets grew 31 per cent.

Microsoft’s market share improved last year but its share remains small at just 2.1 per cent. This marks a rise of 1.1 per cent on 2012.

The research shows the top two tablet manufacturers had 55 per cent of the market at the end of last year. Apple's strong fourth quarter helped it to maintain the top position with 36 per cent share, down from 52. 8 per cent a year earlier. Samsung saw its market share rise from 7.4 per cent in 2012 to 19.1 per cent last year, making it the second most popular tablet manufacturer.

Asus was the third most popular manufacturer with 5.6 per cent, followed by Amazon and Lenovo on 4.8 per cent and 3. 3 per cent respectively.

Amongst the manufacturers that have a less than 6 per cent share of the worldwide tablet market, Lenovo did particularly well last year with tablet sales growing 198 per cent.

“Lenovo’s success is a combination of launching innovative new tablet models during the second half of 2013 and the sales of its Yoga model and Windows tablets doing particularly well,” said Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist