Lead by the impressive sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, the Android platform is finally starting to gain momentum in the emerging consumer tablet market. Analytics firm Strategy Analytics reports that Android owned 22% of the global tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2010. The iPad’s share of the market dropped from 96% to 75% in the fourth quarter last year, according to the report. Apple shipped 7.3 million iPads last quarter, up 74% from the third quarter, while 2.1 million Android tablets were shipped — 2 million of which were built by Samsung. But Samsung won’t be carrying the market on its own for long. Android is already well on its way to overrunning the consumer tablet market as it did with smartphones. Over 100 tablets were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, and about half of them will run Android. With multiple new Android tablets launching each month compared to one new iPad from Apple each year, Google’s OS is bound to continue growing. RIM is also preparing to launch the BlackBerry PlayBook as its first tablet offering this year, which could sell as many as 6 million units during its first year of availability.
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