According to a new report from Gartner, approximately 195 million tablets were sold in 2013, a 68 percent bump from the year prior. Of those 195 million tablets, a full 62 percent – or 121 million – were running a version of Google's Android operating system. By comparison, last year Apple sold about 70 million iPad tablets, good enough for 36 percent of the market.
There are a couple of things to point out, though. First is that this is the first time that Apple – the company arguably responsible for sparking the tablet trend with the original iPad – has not led the market. Second is that we probably shouldn't start writing the iPad's obituary yet. From 2012 to 2013, sales of iPads actually increased, from 61 million to 70 million.
"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," Gartner's Roberta Cozza said in a statement.
In other words, the iPad's position as go-to high-end tablet is probably not going to change anytime soon. But as more and more hardware manufacturers – from Samsung to Asus to Sony – continue to incorporate versions of Android into their tablets, Google is likely to see its position improve in coming years, especially in developing markets.
That's certainly the case in the hotly-contested smart phone space. IDC recently calculated that in 2013, almost 94 percent of smart phones shipped globally ran either Android or iOS. But the two operating systems were not running neck in neck: Android, according to IDC, had a 78.6 percent market share, while Apple was left with 15 percent.