Gartner says Android tablet sales grew 121 percent last year, Microsoft a distant third

Android tablet sales are on the rise and according to the latest numbers from Gartner, now outsells iOS tablets – so that's the iPad, then – quite substantially. OK, there's also plenty more Android tablets on the market that there are iPads, but the growth of 121 percent over 2012 is still staggering.

The tablet growth in 2013 was fueled by the low-end smaller screen tablet market, and first time buyers; this led Android to become the No. 1 tablet operating system (OS), with 62 percent of the market.

That's a pretty important statement to consider. Apple corrnered the tablet market with the launch of the iPad, but launched its first smaller tablet quite late on – and it wasn't that hot, either. With affordable Android tablets on sale from the likes of Google, Samsung and Amazon to name but a few, it's hardly surprising to see the rise of the Android tablet.

Apple probably isn't going to be getting too worried since Gartner says it sold around 70 million iPads in 2013, but the strength of the Android hardware ecosystem just keeps on growing. Apple's iPad mini just can't match comparible small Android tablets on price, with the cheapest Retina model costing a substantial amount more than something like Google's Nexus 7 or Amazon's Kindle Fire.

At the other end of the table, Microsoft lies in a distant third cornering just 2.1 percent of the tablet market in 2013. It too grew pretty significantly over 2012, but it's a long way off the clear leaders. Small tablets look like where it's at.

Source: Gartner


Reader comments

Tablet sales up in 2013, Android overtakes the iPad for the first time


So it takes every single Android OEM to overcome the one Apple manufacturer? Guys, we must improve our offerings! (Though the Note 8 is best tab out there hands down)

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To be fair the iPad came first, and the overwhelming majority of tablets in schools are iPads mainly because of ios's simplistic approach

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The note 8.4 pro from Samsung is just awesome. .fast..and the display OMG is just phenomenal 100 times better than ipad mini retina..the colors look vibrant..text looks extremely sharp some times it difficult for me not to assume that its Amoled even though its not.even looks sharper than my note it

I hope that those of you who brought apple stock during the meltdown sold it at the top because it will never reach 700 again imho.

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Until an Android OEM makes a device able to overcome the, "I buy Apple because of the premium quality" factor, then yeah, it will take every single OEM to beat Apple.
I'm not trolling, and I'm certainly not a big Apple fan, but Apple users just have it in their head that Apple products are just SO MUCH BETTER than everything else.

I don't think it is even the "premium" thing anymore. Somehow Apple has gotten such a mind share with non-techies that it is very hard to overcome. I have met many people who just call all tablets iPads and all smart phones iPhones regardless of brand or model. Those are the people that need to be informed of the virtues of Android.

I just had a conversation with a coworker (who is a computer programmer) this morning who asked me which smart phone she should get because she has never had a cell phone because she is not really into gadgets. But then she went on to ask me if she should get an iPhone because FaceTime sounds like it might be fun. I, of course, went on to tell her how much better Android and Hangouts was and recommended a Moto X to her. This is something that Google really needs to work on advertising wise.

I still think ios is a better choice for most normal people. It is a major pain having to support all of my family on android compared with those on ios. Sure android gives you more choice, but most people want consistency. I used ios for 5 years and I don't think I could go back, but ios is a much nicer experience overall.

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I used to think that too.. Until the last 2 iterations of Android where it got more stable and streamlined

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I agree here. It is easier for me to support my family with iPhones than Android. I've never owned an iPhone, but it is still more straight forward and consistent. With all of the different versions out there of Android, and then on top of it Sense, TouchWiz or other, fragmentation always comes into play.

The problem IMO is that iMessage is the default on every IOS device and works with Every IOS device and everyone knows that (iMessage is quite better than hangouts ATM). Hangouts is not as ubiquitous and until it is more widely adopted this will be the case. HOWEVER, if you look at EVERYTHING google has done to this point, they start with the basics, keep adding and polishing and adding and polishing until they are better than apple. This will happen with hangouts, but its gonna be at least another year. The thing hangouts has that iMessage will NEVER have.. cross platform compatibility.

Have you ever held an HTC one in you're hands? I'm thinking no... My HTC one that I just picked up yesterday is a work of art. Ridiculous high quality zero gap aluminum body. It puts the iPhone to shame


i love my one and it is an amazing work... but lets be real. it is very much on par with an iphone in terms of quality, no questions asked. But puts it to shame?? cmon...

It's called 'choice". Apple doesn't give it to users, Android does. That you even posted this shows you aren't too sharp.

Its a matter of iOS vs Android, not the OEM sales. Its a matter of which ecosystem a person prefers. iOS is on one OEM (Apple), if you want iOS you HAVE TO buy an iPad/iPhone. Android offers choice with several OEMs and thats why Android sales are DIVIDED between OEMs. There is an Android device for anyone, THATS why Android will continue to grow. I'm a programmer and I chose nexus , another buddy of mine is into Graphics and chose the note... You see where I'm going with this? If Apple was to allow other OEMS to offer iOS, iPad sales would drop because iOS would be divided amongst OEMS giving people a choice in the matter. Anyway you look at it, who cares... You and I both know Android is better, you swear by Samsungs Note and I swear by Google's Nexus, Android runs both. Apple will continue to lose ground because of that one factor...Choice!


I can't wait till the tab 4 7.0!! Hopefully its better speced and at least 2gb of ram and comes in at around $149.99 that would be awesome!!!!

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Yea but there's no denying that 120% growth over 2 years time is staggering. They're doing something right.

Flawlessly flowed post using SwiftKey on my GSIII via Android Central App

Iphone6? Man no one wants to pay all of that money to get the same design. Apple is full of it and it's catching up to them.

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FFS are you serious? I don't hate on Apple as they make fine products and people I care a lot more about than a piece of electronics use them and/or own their stock, but you're singing the same old song all iphone fans sing before the next iphone. Generally speaking people are disappointed. It's just a phone...what else are they going to do? I remember the iphone 4 was supposed to have a projection keyboard and make your coffee...

Still rocking and love my 2012 Nexus 7. Will retire it when I get Nexus 8 this summer.

Sent from my Nexus 5 :-D

Half of the 2013 total sales are from "Other" manufactures so I would not be surprised.
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Those cheap, crappy Chinese tablets, added in with the cheap, crappy Android tablets we have right here in the USA, are most certainly factored in. The span of lines at Walmart last Black Friday for that junky $50 tablet they had was staggering.

This somewhat frustrates me. I wish someone would count the # of manufacturers that make an android tablet. I bet this site would be floored. I'm really surprised it took this long for Android tablets to outsell iPad. My wife and I got our 3 kids tablets made by RCA for Christmas for $40 each. RCA!! I used to have a VCR and cassette deck made by them. Now compare Samsung to Apple or Asus to Apple and see what the numbers say. Im an android guy but I do know when the fight isn't fair, and this is one of them.

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I wonder how much of this is from nexus 7 sales. I wish Google released those numbers. I'm sure their sales since the OG have been pretty good (even if they dipped slightly last year due to over saturation)

No idea but I don't think the nexus 7 is a big seller. Maybe with people who follow tech news and read this website. But when I bring my 2012 nexus to my work, I get questions like is that the iPad mini, or do you like your kindle? I think amaxon, samsung, and apple are the only companies with significant numbers.

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Opposite actually. Samsung has largest market share for Android tablet OEMs, then Asus in second (both Nexus 7 models made by Asus).

Sent from my Nexus 5 :-D

Yeah. Amazon was the largest android tablet market share holder for a while.

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Based upon what? I don't doubt that more kindle fires are out there over certain nexus devices but amazon has never released those numbers

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All thanks to the Nexus 7.Still holding its own a year after launch.GOOGLE I BEG YOU,PLZ DONT DISCONTINUE NEXUS :-(

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I can't see Google discontinuing the Nexus line any time soon. As long as it makes money they'll keep it going.

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It's about the money, but not the way you and most people seem to think. Nexus is about getting Google's services in as many hands as possible...ESPECIALLY developers when it comes to phones. Google makes its money on advertising. They could probably give a few million Nexus devices away and make a shiite load of money off of them.

Also this is NOT that impressive considering it takes LG,Samsung,Asus and all Chinese OEMs combined to beat Apple.I can already hear Tim Cook saying"How many of these went in the drawer?"
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“I like open and I believe open wins. It’s mankind vs. Apple. I think it’s always tough to battle and gain share when you’ve got this openness coming after you.” – Scott McNealy

"I can already hear Tim Cook saying"How many of these went in the drawer?""
While the OEMs profits went in their pockets.
Consdiering the significant head start Apple had, it IS pretty impressive. You sound like those whiney "Well the iPhone sells more individual phones than any other phone" Apple fanbois. Who cares about the single device? It's all about theplatform. Android gives you choice, Apple locks you down and forces you to conform.

Except how much conforming do the folks buying cheap cheesy android tablets have to do? I'd sure as hell take an iPad over that

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I'd also like to see a breakdown by unit cost and tablet size. I'm sure Apple is still the hands-down leader in sales of devices that are 10"+, or $500+.

Apple accounts for about 27% of the world's smartphones, and yet they make 87% of all smart phone profits. What does that tell you about their markup? I too have no doubt that they are the leader in $500+ devices, since they charge more for their devices than everyone else. Having a high price does not automatically mean that something is "quality".

I want to buy a 10' tablet but dont know what to do lol

i want to belive that we will have a new nexus 10 but then again we dont know
my options: nexus10 (2012) or wait for a new one
xperia z tablet :(

Wait for Google I/O in a few months. I would bet there's gonna be a new nexus 10 announced. Of not, then might want to have a backup plan.

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Not at I/O, but perhaps at a later event. Remember, last year's N7 was announced after I/O.

Posted from my pure Google Nexus 4 using the AC app.

2013 Google IO was on May and Nexus was announced on June and released july but this year IO is on June 25-26... so I think they would announce it at IO

I'd use that in my living room. My wife might not like it, but she'd just have to deal with it.

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Last time I checked Android has been no 1 on tablets for quite some time. Maybe this report is only about the USA and not globally. iOS has less then 30% of the tablet market and none of the ipads is the best tablet in any size category. The best small is Nexus 7 (if you want to make calls the Huawei X1 is an alternative), the best medium is the Tab pro 8.4 (if pen is a must the Note 8.0 is a choice), best normal size is the Tablet Z2 and for large the Note Pro 12.2 is the one to choose.

Can you guys do something about those stupid Dell borders that are ruining your homepage by covering up the content? It's been happening for several days now. Thanks.

Interesting. The iPad Air is still the best tablet on the market. But it is pricey, and the Nexus 7 is a fantastic entry (both for the money and period).

Ipad air is no where near to be the best. Both the tablet z2 (I tested at mwc) and tab pro 10.1 is better and that is just in that size category and the percieved lightness for those beats the air by far.

"Best" is determined entirely by someone's personal taste and use case. It may be the best device for her, while the Z2 might be best for you.

That's why all this argument about "best device on the market" is just BS. No one can tell you which device is the best for you (tablet or smart phone) without knowing what you want the device to be able to do.

Got a nexus 7 but the ipad is still the dominant ipad, it takes dozens of £100+ tablets for Android tablets to do this. Let's be honest if it wasn't for those cheap(necessary as not everyone can afford or wants to spend £400 on a tablet) Android tablets, it would still be struggling with market share. Android tablet got noticed because of price. Would love to see a breakdown of how much tablets were sold in x amount of price range and also how many are Google certified and how many are Android forked or without Google services.

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

"wah wah low price wah"

Y'know what those folks with cheap tablets say? "Thank god I didn't have to pay $400 for that overpriced Apple crap."

Maybe so...but if you want to be real and honest... When it comes down to it... Those low-end Android devices are an unfair comparison. When comparing the iPad to Android flagship devices, it all comes down to opinion and needs and both are excellent devices depending on needs. The iPad is for a general purpose use and is limited, don't get me wrong, the things iPad can do are done brilliantly. Im not sure what you're needs are, but I can email you some things concerning you're nexus 7 2013 that might give you a change of opinion. Overall, Android is great because it offers so many levels of choice and opportunity for consumers. Those with a very limited budget have the opportunity to atleast have something even if it is garbage in our eyes. But let's not forget the Nexus device we both own offers more in functionality and compatibility and its only going to get better for almost half the price, which for me was a bonus because I would have paid $600 if I had to, just because the iPad and iOS can't do the things I need. Its not dominant anymore. Kit Kat surpassed iOS and its just the beginning. Let's also not forget the myth of tablet apps on Android, since Android scales all applications to respective display size, Android tablets can run any app on Google Play. I believe the iPad has a separate app ecosystem. Also, now that we have windows platform joining forces with Android, its only going to get worse for Apple. I also would like to point out one factor... The Android tablet growth of 121% in 2013 wasn't due to those $59 craplets which have been around for years and if that was the case, this news would have already hit years ago. The Android Tablet spike was due to major OEMs seriously stepping up their game. For years OEMS couldn't get it right in the tablet market, nor did they have a true game plan for Android tablets. Google releasing the Nexus line of Android tablets was a game changer, until then, the only Android "powered" tablet with significant success was that of the kindle fire. Then in 2012, we started seeing legit and polished Android tablets from major OEMs that offered high end functionality that served an actual purpose. Note that this 121% increase was no coincidence... In the tablet game, Android finally arrived! And now we see this news in less than 2 years. Some may believe the iPad is still on top, but this news is a serious momentum shift in favor of Android. Point blank, as tablets are concerned, Android is finally on the map, and these Android tablets are nothing to gawk at with Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors getting more ridiculous with each release. Then we have nvidia in the mix for the gamers, and we see Google set the stage for operation takeover, we now have a developers playground, and Google offers the development software and tools for free... Programmers are drooling over the opportunity Google so generously offers. One example, I quit my day job and make more in a month then I did in a year. Developers are shifting focus along with consumers, and its just obvious Google is going to win this race.


I'm sure the carrier bundles with Samsung Galaxy Tab 8s for $99 helped. Unfortunately, as a power user, those tablets are nothing short of awful, and either get resold or buried in a drawer. I haven't turned that Galaxy Tab on since day 1 because my phone is so much faster to use. This is great in an overall numbers game, but as far as real world usage, I guarantee iPad is still well on top.

As a power user you seem to lack knowledge on the subject... You over credit yourself if you believe iPad is for a "super user" Take that Galaxy tab out of you're drawer and root it for true functionality... That's what a power user/super user does... If you like the iPad that's good for you, but you have no clue about what Android can do obviously. Do you powerfully watch Netflix or play games on you're iPad? Or maybe you use you're iPad for graphics design or audio engineering, the few things that would warrant owning an iPad. You do know you're on android central calling yourself a "power user" right? I'm surprised someone else hasn't already brought you down to earth. As a programmer and superuser, my rooted Nexus 7 is a superuser device. Can you flash custom Roms on you're iPad? Can you run other operating systems? Can you build your own custom Roms and test them on your iPad? No you can't do any of that, and that is what super users do... I want an iPad for audio engineering, since I'm an actual super user, I would never ditch my Android device, I would buy the iPad for the sole purpose of music production on the go, while sticking to my Nexus for functionality, compatibility, and the ecosystem designed for developers that trumps the laughable Apple Store when it concerns superusers. I do apologize for my rudeness, but I couldn't let that one go, it was simply asking for correction. Now, hit the Google Developers page, educate yourself, and learn what Google offers their Android superusers and withdraw you're silly post before you continue to embarrass yourself.


So a superuser on android means rooting and romming? That stuff is cool and all, but it should never be a prerequisite to getting a device to function properly.

Does the Google developers page really go in depth for what can be achieved with rooting? That doesn't sound like something they'd actively support, given that they want developers to make awesome shit for the every-man, not just other programmers or 'super-users'.

And yes, your post was epically rude. Just because his definition of a super user is different than yours doesn't mean it required 'correcting'

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Why not? You have to jailbreak an iDevice to get it to function properly. At least by your definition. I wouldn't own an iDevice. But if I did, that bastard would be jailbroken so fast your head would swim.

Remember that when the iPad first came out everyone thought it would follow the ipod route and dominate because there was non of the market distortion like there is in phones due to carriers.
It's pretty impressive that Android has been able to do so well in the tablet space.

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Next step: I would like to see Google really focus on the larger (10+) tablet form factor. I love my Nexus 7 2013 but when it came time to buy a larger tablet for work (I'm a PhD student) I went with an iPad because A) the pdf reading and handwritten notetaking apps are better (not perfect though) and B) because a 4:3 form factor is superior for reading.

I think android could be wonderful in this segment if google put some effort into the 10" tablet form factor rather than letting OEMs cover all the gaps
-better 10" tablet ui is needed. Making it the same as the 7" tablets was a mistake
-first party support for file management would be nice. I'm happy Android allows for file managers but google acts way to much like apple in regard to trying to ignore file management.
-build true-multitasking into android rather than having OEMs like samsung add it on top. I bet if Google supported it then you could use it with almost all third party apps.
-build in support in the SDK for an active stylus. No, not every tablet will have it. But more will if the support is there and being able to use the active stylus in all third party apps would make for better 3rd party notetaking apps.

Basically I think the hardware is there to make tablets a really excellent computing platform to supplement the PC but the software has a ways to go and unlike Windows and Apple, Google doesn't seem concerned at all with the productivity market for tablets.

I like the iPad too, but the Note 10.1 2014 is far more capable for handwriting than the iPad is. There are also some really good (non-samsung) apps like Lecture Notes and Papyrus.

Posted via Android Central App (Nexus 5)

Yep the large Android tablets are a no go for me, the 8" ish just about right where even blown up phone apps don't look top bad where as on a 10" it just looks pathetic.

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

Perhaps you should have looked at the Nexus 10. A year older than the Ipad air and still better. In fact listed the Nexus 10 as the best 10" Android tablet of 2013. There is nothing even remotely good about the Iphone or Ipad if you truly want to get things done. I'd rather have a tab that can do anything I want and I can have control over than a tab that is lacking in just about every aspect and controls me.

Android has been doing it's job well in the tablet space, but I still think iPad is the supreme tablet (at least with regard to usage).

Posted through my Nexus 7!

Supreme in what? Lack of a file storage system? Having all of the apps on the home screen? A lack of expandable storage? Or maybe it's the lack of widgets? I get it. It's the lack of security.

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How about not lacking in apps? I'd kill to have such a huge tablet specific app selection on my nexus7

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You don't need to kill, just wait a bit. You really think developers will only develope for iOS when their market share is dwindling? Follow the money...

It's about time Android beat out IOS in the tablet market. I knew it would eventually happen. A lot of device makers and developer support plus an open system vs a closed off system with only one device maker and a whole lot less developer support. The math speaks for itself. I'll take my Dell Venue 8 over most any other tablet that's out there. It runs stock Android 4.3 and even though it only has a dual core processor. It still runs at 2.0 GHZ and has 2GB of RAM with 32 GB of internal storage and is very Smooth and fast. I think it might be because it uses the Intel Atom processor instead of an arm processor. At least that's my theory. I've had no problems with the processor not playing nice with my apps.
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I feel the reason has to do with more and more people getting "educated". I have some friends that feel ONLY their iPhone can do certain things, like voice typing, editing / filtering of photographs. Some people simply have no idea that other options are available.

With Android users showing, and in my case proving, that the Android environment can do everything that the marketing giant Apple sells, these numbers will only increase.

I'm not really surprised. I personally know several people who purchased Android tablets last year.

Oddly, I have no desire to buy another tablet after giving my iPad to my little cousin. And I don't see those feelings changing, especially with smartphone screens getting bigger. I think I have very little use for tablets because I just don't like carrying around multiple devices. When I feel the need for a larger screen, I prefer my laptop.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

*makes comment on how Apple sucks and Android rules*
You guys are getting far too predictable.

Posted via Android Central App

"You guys"? No where in the article did it even imply that "apple sucks". They were merely repeating data from a company that does market analysis.

Perhaps she was referring to the other commenters that actually said that Apple sucks. Perhaps "you guys" refers to you.

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This is about the 3rd time since early last year I believe I've read that Android has overtaken iPad sales for the FIRST time. Is there some sort of changing metric or do we just keep forgetting.

We like the biased headline Android Central “Android tablet sales” but please enlighten your readers as to when Android started making tablets.

I've owned iPhone and I've owned a few Androids but where the iPhone gets a lot of customers is from those that just want a phone, who have no computer skills. And that's the thing with being so flexible and able to customize everything. Many just can't comprehend the difference. A friend of mine, a woman, broke her iPhone and it had to be replaced with an iphone, because it was simple to use, she doesn't understand tech (her own words). I myself, build computers as a hobby and have no problem with Android at all. For me, it's Android all the way but I will no longer buy expensive phones. My cheap Chinese S5 copy is good enough for me. Who cares if the fingerprint scanner and heartbeat sensor are fake, not me. To me, it's still better than an iPhone any day, just by being bigger, not locked to Apple or anyone and having micrSD card capability. Oh, and my screen is HD! Something the iPhone isn;t.