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Android tablets gain ground on Apple's iPad

Android tablets have fuelled a seven per cent growth in the overall tablet market in the third quarter, according to a report released this week by research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Apple's iPad holds 29.6 per cent of the market share – still the largest of all its competitors – but this is a fall of over 10 per cent since the third quarter of 2012.

IDC's report reveals that Samsung has made the most significant gains on Apple, now holding over one fifth of the market share. Meanwhile, Lenovo and Acer have seen the largest year-over-year growth.

Total worldwide tablet shipments grew to 47.6 million units, slightly less than the original forecast of IDC, though still a 36.7 per cent growth compared to the third quarter of 2012.

Apple is expected to see more growth in the fourth quarter, with the release of two new iPad products. The new iPad Air is set to ship on 1 November and the iPad mini with retina will follow later in the month.

Tom Mainelli, Research Director of tablets at IDC, warned that Android's market share growth would not be sustainable if manufacturers continue to use cheap materials and versions of Android that are not approved by Google.

"These low cost Android-based products make tablets available to a wider market of consumers, which is good," he said. "However, many use cheap parts and non Google-approved versions of Android that can result in an unsatisfactory customer experience, limited usage, and very little engagement with the ecosystem.

"Android's growth in tablets has been stunning to watch, but shipments alone won't guarantee long-term success. For that you need a sustainable hardware business model, a healthy ecosystem for developers, and happy end users."

For a comparison between the Apple iPad Air and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), click here.