Android overtakes Apple's iOS as world's leading tablet operating system

Technology research firm Gartner has published new figures that show tablets running Android's OS have seen a 20% market increase from 2012 to 2013.

It means Android tablets now account for 62% of the market and sees the operating system become the most common after overtaking Apple iOS devices, which hold on to 36%. Windows based tablets account for 2.1% – a 1% increase on the previous year.

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Apple's percentage of the market has actually fallen by nearly 17% between 2012 and 2013, suggesting that consumers are leaning towards smaller screen devices and ones that could be considered more affordable.

Android tablet sales were recorded at 53,341,250 in 2012, which rose to 120,961,445 by the end of 2013. iOS tablets saw a smaller increase – up from 61,465,632 in 2012 to 70,400,159 in 2013.

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Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, says: "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."

"Apple's tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and Apple's approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share."

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Samsung holds the biggest share at 19.1% within the Android tablet market, clocking up over 37 million sales in 2013. This is largely down to Samsung offering a tablet in a variety of screen sizes and specifications.

With tablets clearly becoming more and more popular it's apparent manufacturers will need to introduce the latest innovations in order to entice consumers to their brand. But with phablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G Flex and Sony Xperia Z Ultra also proving popular with the public, figures obtained for 2014 could look a lot different.

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by Max Langridge

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.