Android Tablets Gained on IPad in Third Quarter, Researcher Says

Sales of tablet computers running Google Inc.’s Android software rose last quarter at the expense of Apple Inc.’s iPad, after companies led by Samsung Electronics Co. introduced new models, according to a researcher.

Android-powered tablet computers accounted for 27 percent of global sales during the three-month period, jumping from 2.3 percent a year earlier, Strategy Analytics said in a statement today. The iPad’s share fell to 67 percent from 96 percent.

Companies from Samsung to Acer Inc. are counting on Android, the most popular operating system for mobile phones, to help dent Apple’s dominance in the surging tablet market. Competition between Android devices and the iPad may further intensify as joins in with a product at half the price of the Apple gadget, Strategy Analytics said.

“Amazon’s strategy of minimizing its hardware price is set to ignite the entry-level tablet segment and attract more mass-market consumers,” Neil Mawston, a London-based director for the research company, said in the statement.

Samsung -- whose Galaxy tablet computers have been blocked by Apple in Germany and Australia in patent disputes -- was the biggest seller of Android tablets with about a 9 percent share of the overall market, Thomas Kang, a Seoul-based research director for Strategy Analytics, said by phone today. The South Korean company was followed by Asustek Computer Inc., Acer and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., according to Kang who said the breakdown figures were yet to be completed.

Total tablet sales amounted to 16.7 million units in the third quarter, more than tripling from 4.4 million a year earlier, according to the Boston-based researcher.

Strategy Analytics said on Sept. 29 Amazon will sell more than 15 million units of its latest Kindle Fire tablet by the end of 2013. The 7-inch Android device will go on sale Nov. 15 for as little as $199, compared with $499 for the cheapest iPad.

Google, stepping up efforts to challenge Apple, this week unveiled the latest version of Android, named Ice Cream Sandwich, its first offering designed for both phones and tablets.