From zero to three-million hero? Windows storms the tablet charts to take 7 percent of slates

Windows shipments are on the up, but white-box vendors are could be the tablet market's ones to watch.

Windows devices made up 7.4 percent of the 40.6 million tablets shipped in the first quarter of 2013, new research has found.

According to figures from analyst Strategy Analytics, Windows captured 7.4 percent of the market with three million tablets sold — a notable increase on the same quarter last year, when shipments were so low the OS didn't even figure in Strategy Analytics' rankings.

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Total tablet shipments for the quarter were up 117 percent year on year, when 18.7 million units shipped.

Apple dominated the tablet market over the first quarter, with 48 percent share and 19 million tablets sold, up from the 11 million it shifted a year ago.

Despite the increase in shipments, Apple's market share is down — for the same quarter last year it held 68 percent market share — thanks to consumers' growing appetite for Android slates.

Android now has 43.4 percent of the market — up from 34 percent a year ago —and 17.6 million shipments.

The biggest of the Android makers is likely Samsung, which in the fourth quarter of 2012 shipped 7.9 million tablets , according to IDC.

While Windows may be increasing its tablet presence, the real movers and shakers are the no-name, low-cost white-box tablets emerging from China. Some analysts expect as many 60 million white-box tablets to sell this year.

If white-box tablets using Android were included in the figures, Android would steal the tablet OS crown from Apple, according to Strategy's director of tablets, Peter King.

"When we add white-box tablets into the mix, Android market share of the total tablet market increases significantly to 52 percent and iOS slips to 41 percent, as the bulk of the white-box tablets are Android low budget models aimed at a different market to the branded tablets."