Android crowned top tablet OS in 2013, Apple named top vendor

Sony Xperia tablet Z
Sony Xperia Tablet Z was a star performer

Tablet sales grew by 68 per cent in 2013, according to the latest report by Gartner, with Android continuing to dominate.

195.4 million units were sold last year, compared to 116.3 million in 2012. The increase was fuelled by the smaller screen low-end market and first time buyers, where Android was a popular choice.

Tablets made up 90 per cent of overall ultramobile sales in 2013. Emerging markets saw 145 per cent growth, while mature markets grew at a more modest rate of 31 per cent. Hybrid models were the most popular in 2013.

"In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

"As the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditized, in 2014, it will be critical for vendors to focus on device experience and meaningful technology and ecosystem value — beyond just hardware and cost — to ensure brand loyalty and improved margins."

Top of the tables

Android accounted for 120.9 million of those, a massive 127 per cent increase on the 53.3 million from the year prior. Google's mobile platform grew its market share from an already impressive 45.8 per cent to 61.9 per cent, firmly putting it ahead of rivals.

iOS came in second, selling 70.4 million units, a boost on the 61.4 million it sold in 2012. However, Android's spike in sales carved into its market share, which dropped from 52.8 per cent to just 36 per cent.

Microsoft enjoyed some success, with sales almost quadrupling from 1.1 million to just over 4 million. Its market share grew from 1 per cent to 2.1 per cent. It still lags behind its main competitors, however.

Despite iOS's shrinking market share, Apple dominated the charts for tablet manufacturers. Its 70.4 million units is far ahead of Samsung's 37.4 million, Asus' 11 million, Amazon's 9.4 million and Lenovo's 6.5 million. All of these vendors saw sales and market share growth, with Samsung seeing the strongest increases.

Gartner expects similarly strong results in 2014, particularly in the hybrid market.