Android may ascend tablet system throne over iOS

Nexus 7
And Android says, 'Mwuahaha'

The table is set for a tablet OS takeover, according to the latest predictions posted by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The market research firm said in a press release today that it's spiking its worldwide 2013 tablet shipment forecasts up from 172.4 million to 190.9 million.

That's great news for tablet makers, but a closer look reveals one sect will likely stage an upset.

Thanks to a surge in smaller, cheaper tablets - produced predominately with Android inside - the IDC expects that OS to overtake iOS for the first time since the iPad's inception.

Bottom line

According to the IDC, Android saw solid market expansion in 2012, a trend it thinks will continue.

One in every two tablets shipped during the quarter was below 8-inches, IDC noted, with smaller tablets projected to grow through the year and beyond.

With a growing diversity of shrunken, affordable tablets running Android, it's no wonder IDC sees a coup in the works.

Previously the firm predicted Android would hold 41.5 percent of the market in 2013, but it's changed its mind and moved that number up to 48.8 percent.

Unfortunately for iOS, Android's gain comes at its loss. IDC dropped the system's predicted market share from 51 percent to 46 percent.

Windows 8 has hope, though not this year - IDC thinks it will grow from 1 percent in 2012 to 7.4 percent by 2017, with Android and iOS both giving up some share to the fledgling OS.

Things might have been better for Microsoft had it stuck with one OS, IDC's Tom Mainelli said, instead of splintering into Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Of course, something like a more affordable follow-up to the iPad mini - what we like to call the iPad mini 2 - could throw a wrench in the IDC's predictions. Google, Asus or Samsung with its Galaxy Note 8.0 could easily take the tablet world by storm, swinging the favor even more securely Android's way.

We'll just have to sit back and watch the products roll out.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.