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Windows tablets grab 7.4 percent of the market share, Android up 177 percent

Windows surface tablet

The first figures are in for Microsoft’s first quarter from Strategy Analytics’ Global Tablet OS Market Share, and they might surprise you. They’ve managed to attain 7.4 percent of the global tablet OS market, whereas in Q1 last year, they had 0 percent.

Comparatively, the Windows Phone OS has been in a steady decline since its launch two years earlier, and ABI Research expects it to finish out the year with just 3 percent of the worldwide smartphone OS market, its lowest thus far.

Windows 8, designed for ease of use with touchscreens, was launched last fall, meaning that the 7.4 percent boost represents less than six months of market availability. Still though, the same study from Strategy Analytics explains how “very limited distribution, a shortage of top tier apps, and confusion in the market, are all holding back shipments.” That last bit may refer to confusion of Microsoft’s two different tablet operating systems (Windows RT and Windows 8), or possibly, an over-saturation of tablet choices available to consumers on the whole.

Globally, an all-time-high number of tablets were shipped in Q1 2013, with 40.6 million units.

If Strategy Analytics’ figures are to be believed, Apple remains the tablet OS champion, with a 48.2 percent share in Q1, an 19.5 million units shipped. That’s only a small margin ahead of  Android’s 43.4 percent and 17.6 million shipments. Apple’s lead still represents a huge drop – it had 63.1 percent of the market last year, and now it has less than half.  Android has also risen in market share considerably, with almost a ten percent increase over the 34.2 percent they had in Q1 2012.

The past three months represented Apple’s first full quarter offering the iPad mini, but Android has careened ahead with 177 percent more tablet shipments than the same quarter last year.