Apple's iPad easily dominated the tablet market last quarter, but Android is coming on strong, a study from research firm Strategy Analytics has found.
During the third quarter, worldwide tablet shipments totaled 16.7 million units. Apple shipped 11.1 million iPads during the period, helping iOS secure 66.6 percent of the tablet space. Android-based tablet shipments hit 4.5 million in the third quarter, for a 26.9 percent share during the period.
All told, iOS and Android secured nearly 93.5 percent of the tablet market between them, easily overshadowing the 2.4 percent market share Microsoft was able to tally in the third quarter. RIM's QNX operating system, which is running on the BlackBerry PlayBook, took 1.2 percent of the market.
Although Android is still trailing far behind iOS in the tablet space, the operating system has made serious inroads into the marketplace. During the third quarter of 2010, Strategy Analytics said today, Android had just 2.3 percent market share on 100,000 tablet shipments. In just one year, the platform's shipments have risen "twelve-fold," Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston said in a statement accompanying his firm's findings.
Apple, meanwhile has watched its tablet share shrink considerably. Last year, the company's iOS platform had 95.5 percent of the tablet market under its control.
However, it's worth noting that last year the tablet market was in its infancy. And although Apple's market share has slipped, the company's tablet shipments have risen by nearly 7 million units year-over-year.
While there's plenty of room for growth in the tablet market, many analysts believe Android will continue to gain ground on the iPad. Gartner said last month that it expects Android manufacturers to ship 116.4 million tablets by 2015--not that far behind Apple's expected shipment of nearly 149 million iPads, the research firm said.