Global tablet computer sales soared last year, as devices powered by Google Inc’s Android dethroned Apple Inc’s iPads, figures released on Monday by Gartner Inc showed.
Tablet sales surged to 195.4 million last year, rising 68 percent from 2012, the industry tracker reported.
The raw number of iPads sold climbed more than 9 million to 70.4 million over the same period.
Meanwhile, the portion of sales grabbed by tablets running Android rose to 61.9 percent last year from 45.8 percent in 2012, according to Gartner.
“In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers, while still offering adequate specifications,” Gartner research director Roberta Cozza said in a press release.
As Apple continues to rule the high-end sector of the market with it iPads, low-cost Android tablets are attracting buyers with slim budgets in emerging markets, Gartner said.
Despite this, California-based Apple’s compelling “ecosystem” of music, games, films and other digital content and services for mobile devices has put pressure on its rivals to provide similar experiences on their tablets, Cozza said.
Apple remained the world’s No. 1 tablet seller, but sales of Android devices by second-place Samsung Electronics Co more than quadrupled last year to 37.4 million, according to Gartner.
Microsoft Corp sold slightly more than 4 million Windows-powered tablets in a jump from the previous year, but still lags far behind the market leaders.