Update: Now it appears that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab sales are lower than the company previously let on, which means that Android tablets likely didn’t take as much market share away from the iPad as we reported below.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, Android tablets snagged 22 percent of global tablet shipments (up from 2.3 percent in the last quarter), while the iPad dropped 20 points to 75 percent of the market, according to data by the market research firm Strategy Analytics.
Apple’s stranglehold on tablets was bound to loosen eventually, but it’s surprising how little it took for the iPad to go from 95 percent of the market to 75 percent. There aren’t many Android tablets widely available at the moment, and the only truly successful one I can think of is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which sold 2 million units in 2010.
Apple announced in its most recent quarterly earnings report that it sold 7.3 million iPads in the last quarter, which brought total iPad sales to upwards of 14.8 million since it was released last April.
The iPad’s success in 2010 was far beyond most analyst expectations, but it’s going to have much more competition this year, including high-end Android tablets like Motorola’s Xoom, as well as RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook.