2011 was a good year for tablet sales as shipments for the whole year reached 66.9 million units, up 260 per cent from last year’s 18.6 million unit figure. Apple was the clear leader with record sales of 15.43 million iPads, a 111 per cent increase year over year.
In second place were tablets powered by Google’s Android operating system. Largely fueled by the Fire, the platform’s 10.5 million units represented a 39 per cent share of global tablet shipments during the fourth quarter.
In third place was Microsoft, which managed a meagre one per cent market share. The company and its hardware partners will be hoping that the release of Windows 8 later this year will boost sales.
Research by Strategy Analytics also revealed that consumers are increasingly preferring tablets over netbooks and entry-level notebooks or desktops. It is estimated Apple sold more iPads in the fourth quarter than HP, the world’s largest PC maker, sold computers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has predicted, “There will come a day when the tablet market in units is larger than the PC market.” According to research group Gartner, sales of PCs declined by nearly six per cent in the fourth quarter.