Android tablets are fast eroding the iPad's dominance of the tablet market according to new figures from IDC on 2011 tablet sales.
In the last quarter of 2011, Android increased its tablet market share from 32 per cent to 45 per cent, while the iOS slipped from holding a 62 per cent stake to a 55 per cent, according to the figures.
The analyst firm said that it expects Android to continue to grow its share in the market at the expense of the iOS.
A large contributing factor to Android's recent success was the launch of the $199 Kindle Fire by Amazon, which runs a custom version of Android, said IDC.
The Fire shipped almost exclusively in the US in the fourth quarter of 2011 but still managed to take a 17 per cent share of the worldwide tablet market.
IDC said that it expects Apple will only lead the tablet market for another three years.
"As the sole vendor shipping iOS products, Apple will remain dominant in terms of worldwide vendor unit shipments," said Tom Mainelli, IDC research director.
"However, the sheer number of vendors shipping low-priced, Android-based tablets means that Google's OS will overtake Apple's in terms of worldwide market share by 2015."
Also, according to IDC's figures, Blackberry sales slipped to encompass less than one per cent of the market, while HP's WebOS, which owned five per cent of the worldwide market around nine months ago, no longer even registers in IDC's figures.
IDC said tablet sales have seen stronger than expected growth across many world regions, reaching 68.7m sales in total in 2011.
The firm said it expects sales will be even stronger this year, forecasting 106 million tablets will be sold.
In related news, Apple has announced that the new iPad will be available from 8am on Friday, 16 March, in the UK.
Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site LocalGov.tv. Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.