iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

A year ago, the Apple iPad dominated the tablet market with a nearly 40 point lead over Android. Now, two reports show Apple's lead has been cut by more than 20 points, with the Kindle Fire passing Samsung in the assault.
Written by Ed Burnette, Contributor

Things are looking up for Android tablets, according to two reports released this week. The first report, from the research firm Strategy Analytics, shows global tablet shipments on the rise with Android taking a larger piece of the pie:

"Android captured a record 39 percent share of global tablet shipments in Q4 2011, rising from 29 percent a year earlier. Global Android tablet shipments tripled annually to 10.5 million units. Dozens of Android models distributed across multiple countries by numerous brands such as Amazon, Samsung, Asus and others have been driving volumes."


The second report comes from mobile analytics firm Flurry. They found:

"In January, after the holiday boom in devices and in apps, we see that strong adoption of Kindle Fire, combined with significant downloads driven from the Amazon App Store, resulted in a massive surge in session usage that just edges out the Galaxy Tab. Unrounded, Kindle Fire represents 35.7% of sessions and Galaxy Tab represents 35.6%. Remarkably, and from a standing start, the Kindle Fire overtook the Galaxy Tab in just a few short months. Total Android tablet sessions in January more than tripled over November, with Galaxy Tab sessions increasing by more than 50%. Overall, Android Tablets are growing aggressively as a category."


The numbers are not exactly comparable, since the first report looks at new sell-in shipments and covers October-December, while the second looks at total usage for January, but it's clear that Android tablets are finally getting some traction thanks in part to the success of Amazon's Kindle Fire.

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