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Tipping point: Android tablets oust iPad in terms of 2013 sales

Low end and small screen but big numbers

Tipping point: Android tablets oust iPad in terms of 2013 sales
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The latest figures from Gartner have unveiled an upheaval in the tablet market.

For the first time ever, Android toppled iOS to become the most popular tablet OS worldwide.

Of the 195 million tablets sold in 2013, Gartner reckons a 62 percent - 121 million - were powered by Android.

By contrast, 36 percent - 70 million - were iPads.

This figure is a marked reversal from last year's trends, in which iPad tablets accounted for 53 percent of tablet sales.

Think small, win big

Although many consumers still consider Apple's iPad the quintessential tablet, it seems they're having a difficult time justifying its cost.

According to Gartner, 'Low-end, smaller screen' tablets propelled Android to almost triple its number of tablets sold in the past year.

Intriguingly, Amazon's Kindle Fire line of tablets saw both growth and decline in 2013.

After App Annie pointed to the Kindle Fire as America's most popular Android tablet for gaming, sales of the slate only increased by 2 million in 2013 - leading its market share to slip from 6.6 percent in 2012 to 4.8 percent with 9 million units sold.

Of course, Amazon is yet to reveal any official sales numbers.

Microsoft's tablets, meanwhile, ranked as a dark horse fourth. Sales increased from 1.1 million in 2012 to 4 million in 2013, but the Redmond tech titan managed to secure only 2.1 percent of the tablet market with its product line.

[source: Gartner]