Despite rock star Q4 earnings, Apple faces greater challenges than ever. On one key front, new research suggests that Google’s Android operating system is quickly taking tablet market share at the expense of Apple's iOS. According to Strategy Analytics, Android accounted for 39% of the market in the final three months of last year, up from 29% a year earlier, while Apple's share fell to 58% from 68%. (Microsoft's share stood at 1.5%.)
Overall, shipments of tablets reached 26.8 million in the quarter, up from 10.7 million a year ago. "Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong," Strategy Analytics' Peter King tells BBC News. Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads between October and December. “That compares with shipments of 10.5 million tablets using Android,” BBC News notes.
Throughout 2011, shipments hit 66.9 million, up from 18.6 million in 2010. Used by tablet manufacturers like Amazon and Samsung, Android is also one of the most-used operating systems in the global smartphone market. As BBC notes, however, the latest figures suggest Apple has overtaken Android in the US.
According to recent finding from Kantar Worldpanel, Apple took 44.9% of market share in the US in the 12 weeks to 25 December, compared with 44.8% for Android.