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Apple iPad sales slip as cheap Android tablet tsunami looms

But top earner Cupertino to stay flooded with cash for YEARS

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Apple's iPad share of the fondleslab market slipped slightly in the last quarter from 61.5 per cent to 54.6 per cent. But with the demand for tablets booming and Apple selling 15.4 million units in the last quarter of 2011, it's unlikely anyone will shed tears over these results in Cupertino.

The 2011 Q4 stats from IDC show a 56.1 per cent increase in overall slab sales to 28.2 million units; up from the 15.8 million that punters splashed out on in Q3.

In three months Android's percentage of the tablet market has shot up - Android was loaded on 44.6 per cent of tablets sold in Q4, up from 32.3 per cent in Q3.

WebOS and BlackBerry have been practically crushed into the ground: WebOS had zilch and BlackBerry clocked a 0.7 per cent. Windows didn't make a showing. But while iOS is top, it won't be top forever.

"As the sole vendor shipping iOS products, Apple will remain dominant in terms of worldwide vendor unit shipments," said Tom Mainelli, research director at IDC. He added:

However, the sheer number of vendors shipping low-priced, Android-based tablets means that Google's OS will overtake Apple's in terms of worldwide market share by 2015. We expect iOS to remain the revenue market share leader through the end of our 2016 forecast period and beyond.

Amazon's Fire was the big driver for Android; the online shopping centre shifted 4.7 million units in the last three months of 2011, giving it 16.8 per cent of the world market. Samsung was the third most successful tablet-maker with 5.8 per cent of the fondleslab pie and Barnes and Noble (3.5 per cent) and Pandigital (2.5 per cent) were fourth and fifth.

Windows doesn't even seem to factor in IDC's predictions for the years ahead that foresee iOS and Android continuing to carve up the market between them by 2016 with remaining manufacturers scooping less than 5 per cent. ®

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