Tablet computers powered by Google's Android software are increasing their global market share but Apple's iPad still dominates the category, a research firm said Thursday.
Strategy Analytics said Android tablets increased their share of the market to 39 percent in the fourth quarter of the year from 29 percent a year earlier.
The iPad accounted for 58 percent of the tablet market in the quarter, down from 68 percent a year earlier, the Boston-based company said.
Strategy Analytics director Peter King said global tablet shipments hit a record 26.8 million units in the fourth quarter, up 150 percent from the same period a year ago.
Apple sold 15.4 million iPads in the fourth quarter while there were 10.5 million Android tablets shipped.
"Apple shrugged off the much-hyped threat from entry-level Android models this quarter," King said.
Tablets powered by Microsoft's Windows software grabbed 1.5 percent of the tablet market in the fourth quarter, Strategy Analytics said.
"The upcoming release of Windows 8 this year cannot come quickly enough for Microsoft, so its hardware partners can start competing more effectively in the tablet space," it said.
Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said Android is "so far proving relatively popular with tablet manufacturers despite nagging concerns about fragmentation of Android's operating system, user-interface and app store ecosystem."
Global tablet shipments hit 66.9 million units last year, up 260 percent from 18.6 million in 2010, according to Strategy Analytics.
"Consumers are increasingly buying tablets in preference to netbooks and even entry-level notebooks or desktops," it said.
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