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