For the first time ever, Android tablets have overtaken Apple’s iPad

by: Andrew GrushMay 1, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 aa 600 px (12)

 Just last month, IDC predicted that Android would soon overtake Apple in terms of tablets shipped. If their latest numbers are correct, the tides have now officially turned!

IDC reports that for the first three months of 2013,  49.2 million tablets have already shipped, with 27.8 million of those tablets running Android. In contrast, Apple shipped just 19.5 million units.

Apple is still the most popular single brand in the tablet world, but Samsung isn’t too far behind with 8.8 million units. While that’s less than half of what Apple is shipping, it is still a jump forward for Samsung compared to the same timeframe last year. In Q1 2012, Apple held 58.1% of the tablet market, and Samsung held just 11.3%.


The year is far from over, so what will happen next? The answer to that question hinges on what Samsung, Apple and Google are planning. At Google I/O, it’s possible we will see a new Nexus tablet, that could certainly have an impact on the market.

We also can’t say for sure what Apple will do next. They’ve had a lot of success with the iPad Mini, and the rumored HD version of the Mini is expected later this year. As for Samsung? They recently released the impressive (though a bit pricey) Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, in order to better compete against 8-inch tablets like the iPad Mini, and they likely have a few other tricks up their sleeves.

We might not know what the future holds, but it is great to see that Android tablet shipments are on the rise. What do you think, will Android be able to continue pushing out more tablets than Apple? Can Samsung overtake the iPad as the most popular brand of tablet?

  • Justin Winker

    No crack yet about Microsoft’s 700% growth yet… I’m slightly surprised.

    • On a Clear Day

      It was only a matter of time. People are not as stupid as some would have you believe they are. For the longest time people have been buying Apple products NOT because they really, truly knew them to be better – after carefully studying the hardware, the software, etc themselves and then, based on careful due diligence, made their purchase, no, rather they bought the iPhone, the iPad, etc, because they saw that “everyone else is doing it so it must be good”. (To be read safe, reliable and I’m not going to look stupid by buying one – uninformed, yes, but not too stupid.)

      I was on the subway today and in just my one end of the train I counted five people with iPhones – they must have not liked me very much because I had just finished giving a lengthy discourse to someone who had a Galaxy S3 about how wise he was to have purchased it, as opposed to an iPhone, considering if you look carefully at the first iPhone to the current iPhone 5 what you see is a device that though nice looking and reliable has barely changed at all in all its various “fabulous” iterations.

      Just as the iPhone is being displaced by the innovative efforts, variety of options, sizes and price points of the Android manufacturers it is inevitable that the limitations of Apple’s products – including its pads – are becoming glaringly obvious – even to the religiously faithful members of the Apple Religion – and they cannot help but be having serious doubts about the wisdom of continuing to believe Apple’s self-laudatory. high opinion of itself.

      • Fantastic comment. I agree.


        No people buy android because its cheap and they can’t afford Apple products.

        • Stonehenge mousehole

          Depends which phone there’s a $10 400 android phone…

        • On a Clear Day

          That’s rubbish. Affording has nothing to do with it – brainwashing has more to do with buying Apple.



        • Cole Raney

          A higher price is only justified when it is a better product. In the case of Apple, this is not the case.

        • Actually the most common response that I get when I ask people “Why did you choose an iPhone?” is “It was free” or “It was 50 bucks”. Also most of the Android phones that are selling well are just as pricey as the iPhone. People choose Android because they prefer it, not because we are poor folk who dream to have the luxury items that you great and wealthy people have. *If you don’t detect the sarcasm in that last line, this line is here to point it out.*

        • Cheap i drive a maserati and personally use a brand spanking new galaxy s4! im looking for Quality, Size and Power! something the overpriced iphone with it puny screen and icons cant give, oh and freedom to do what i want.

        • James

          Apples are cheap now. At least they allowed their Chinese sweatshops to go from 17 hour days to 60 hour weeks, but there is no justification for its current pricing system.


        plastic isn’t innovation

  • I knew it was coming, leave everyone in the dust, and don’t look back.

  • IncCo

    A beautiful thing


      lol incorrect reporting by butthurt fandroids. android hasn’t even taken over ipad sales yet. sad really.

  • cretu

    Pointless article. Clearly they are going to surpass apple. How many apple tablets are there? And how many android tablets are there. Stupid article.

    • On a Clear Day

      Just because you or I do not find something news worthy does not mean it should not be reported so that those who may find it news worthy can be informed. The article was well balanced; did not suggest we all gather together, light candles, sing kumbaya and the praises of Android – it reported recently released facts. There was nothing stupid about it, something which cannot be said of your comment.

    • Marvin Nakajima

      I suppose it is ‘newsworthy’ for those that believed that all android tablets combined would not surpass iPad sales for a long time. Shows the speed at which Android is being accepted now.. Though it can be said that there are still probably a nice chunk in the total that are limited to v2.2.

      • Zeh7o
        • Marvin Nakajima

          Yes, I am aware of the pie chart. I am also aware that they changed the way they measure the version distribution by those devices that are ‘actively’ accessing the Google Market. Viewing the chart with that in mind do you not think it is unusual for v2.x Androids to still have a >30% share if they aren’t being sold anymore? I would love to see >80% of the Android devices at the ICS (4.x) level or above but it is currently not the case. I hope the next time they have a similar article it states that there are more ICS+ level Android devices than all iPads sold combined.

      • James

        Considering only a couple of years ago it wasn’t expected to happen until mid-late 2015, then mid-2014, it actually says a lot. Apple’s CEO appears to be lost in his own world since he and his yes people don’t get why it’s happening. They don’t even appear to get it is happening. Sounds a lot like Microsoft when it was dominant in the web browser and computing world. Now it’s a lot less dominant in the computing world and isn’t dominant at all in the browser world. Unless Apple does some major reworking of both price and innovation, it will be the new Microsoft.

    • Arsenal™

      you comment is quite pointless

  • omrcampos

    good point but at the same time, This is all of Android devices not only Samsung’s or Asus. Apple has a very reliable product and very loyal customers, they will return because the Iphone 5s will be here soon, Ipad Mini with Retina display will be here soon and YES! people will buy it

    • James

      Apples are overpriced and overhyped and that’s why they are losing market share. Shame that many of the people who buy Apple products don’t have issues with how they are made. Amazing at how many of the Apple fans stop buying Apple products after seeing the articles about sweatshops used to make Apple products. Glad to see Apple finally agreed to let the Chinese sweatshops go from 17 hour days to 60 hour weeks. Shame they are paying them almost nothing and charging outrageously high prices. Least they could have done was to lower prices after they stopped making them in the USA.


    Yes when you compare 20+ OEMS to 1 I guess that’s the only way android ever wins LOL.

    • Cole Raney

      Well, with phones Samsung sells more phones than Apple, so your point is invalid.

    • If apple would allow 20 oems to run iOs than it’ll still be fair. It’s about android versus iOs not company versus 20 companies.

  • jan murphree

    I love my nexus 10 …I use Google play….(is there any help for candy crush addicts?) :-)
    I read a lot of books. Us Google play for books.and kindle app. It was cheaper than ipad. Bigger screen..
    I love it….would highly recommended the nexus 10.

    • Cole Raney

      I have one as well, and I think it is an absolutely amazing device. It is my first tablet.

    • Wish I had one.

    • kascollet

      The screen is not “bigger”, it’s wider and narrower (different aspect ratio).

    • Love my Nexus 10! For the sake of accuracy, the Nexus 10 screen may be slightly larger when measured from corner to corner (which is how the industry measures screens) but when you calculate the square inches on the screen the iPad has slightly more. Roughly they are both the same size and simply use a different aspect ratio (16×9 for Nexus 10 and 4×3 for iPad). The Nexus 10 does have a higher resolution and pixel density though.

  • Darktanone

    That’s shipped devices. Not sold devices. Apple sold 19.5 million iPads. The remaining 29.7 million were shipped. That’s putting the cart ahead of the horse.

    • Shipped devices are all sold devices as far as the manufacturers are concerned except in very few cases.

      There are still brand new iPad 1 and 2 in stores in my country, does that mean Apple only shipped but hasn’t sold them?

      • Darktanone

        That’s an overly simplistic view. Mobile carriers report devices sold to customers and normally that figure determines market share. It’s called sell through. Shipping figures are misleading because you simply don’t know the sell through. Apple is the only mobile brand that reports how many devices they’ve actually sold to users, and they generally sell as many devices as they ship. The others don’t normally sell all they ship and don’t report sales figures. This makes it difficult to get accurate sales figures and puts into question the accuracy of these analyst’s estimates.

  • Jusephe

    So that is the reason I shouldn’t buy iPad ? Because more android tablets are shipped ?

    • No that says you should not blindly buy an iPad.. Because obviously there are better choices out there.

      • Jusephe

        Blindly ?

        I want iPad because of incredible amounts of Apps, the best screen on the market, because of battery life, 4G and last but not least no other tablet has an 128 GB memory option.

        What is a better choice for me ?

        • Andreas Larsson

          Lots of android tablets havet 128 GB storage options, becouse they support micro SD

        • How about 1TB portable hard drive support for android?

        • Metallinatus

          The best screen on the market is right there, on the Nexus 10, just saying….

        • Google Play and the Apple App Store both have over 800k apps. Either of them qualify as having an incredible amount of apps. The best screen on the market is hands down the screen of the Google Nexus 10 with 2560 X 1600 resolution and 300 ppi. I have yet to see an iPad that has the 10 hour battery life that Apple claims but maybe I just keep touching duds. Either way the 8-9 hours that the high end Android tablets have is very nice and if battery life is what you are after, the Asus Transformer with keyboard attachment offers 18 hours of battery life. Many Android tablets offer micro SD slots to provide lots of storage and also support usb drive connectivity. Not sure why anyone would want to pay a data plan on a tablet when most smartphones can offer mobile hotspot, but many Android tablets offer that as well. Ultimately buy whatever makes you happy, but don’t be fooled that the iPad is the only option for what you want.

          • have you seen ipads apps dude ,this is where android tablets lags horribly, for eg, tracktr DJ this app is ipad seller.look at it reviews and it cant be ported to android becoz of android low latency problem.

          • Sorry man I can’t give you a response as I am not even sure what you are saying…

          • On a Clear Day

            Who has time to spend even 5 hours staring at a pad? What became of interacting with people and having a life and doing something productive with it besides playing with “devices”. I love em as much as the next guy, but even if my Android tablet only got 9 hours of life I think somehow I could muddle on and survive. lol

      • On a Clear Day


    • On a Clear Day

      You should buy what you feel is best; best in terms of fulfilling your expectations, your goals, your criteria of what is technically excellent and which will best make you happy! SMS

      If one were to buy something based on how many people have been buying it in the past that would mean one would have to indiscriminately and without critical forethought buy Apple! LOL

      • I agree. No need to fight. I love android tablets and would not get an iPad because iOs makes me feel like I’m in a concentration camp. IPads do like nice though, but each to their own.

        • Millions died and suffered in actual concentration camps. The fact that you would compare an experience on a mobile device to one just shows that you are so remotely out of touch with humanity and basic common sense that your opinion on Android or basically anything else is completely irrelevant. Try growing up.

          • On a Clear Day

            Tim, whether the analogy John-Phillip used was a prison, a concentration camp or the Apple “ecosystem” the point he was getting at, I believe, without any desire to demean nor lessen the horror associated with a real concentration camp was that Apple is not so much a seller of equipment as it is a designer of profit oriented “ecosystems” whose sole goal is to lock people into their business model from whence and after which they will realize that “resistance is futile” to escape and never even bother to try.

            Your comment suggesting John-Phillip grow up is both without merit nor particularly mature nor in the least well founded. Grow up.

          • Thank you. I could not say it better. Of course it is not my intention to belittle real experiences of concentration camps. It is merely a metaphor for the way Apple imprisons you.

          • James

            Apple doesn’t want people to have a good experience. Want an upgrade? You have to buy a new device. Sounds like prison to me. Want an upgrade on Android, it’s possible on most devices. Same with customization.

          • Guest

            It’s actually very apt since Apple has been using Chinese sweatshops where people were working 17 hour days for almost no money for a long time. Apple finally relented and allowed them to work only 60 hour weeks, but the pay is very low. Maybe if they cared more about customers and employees, including indirect employees in the Chinese case, they would lower prices or raise wages.

  • Finally !

  • Samsung’s tablet sell well because of the galaxy brand, but they aren’t particularily good, having mostly TFT screens, slow dual core processors and low resolutions. They are also overpriced.

    • James

      Overpriced? If anything is overpriced, it’s iPads. When they were made in the US, the overpricing was due to high quality materials and high-priced labor costs. After they were moved to China, the work is done by sweatshops (only 60 hour work weeks for almost slave wages) using sub-standard materials. I am not an Android fan, but Apple needs to lower the price and improve the quality. I have a lot of Applebot friends who constantly complain about quality issues with Apple products, but refuse to switch to a different company. It doesn’t help that Apple is so Apple-centric they do everything they can to block devs from creating Apple apps outside of iTunes.

  • Maranello Santiago

    My “outdated” Nook Tablet is a decent tab running Official CM 10.1.