Samsung Galaxy Tab takes a chunk out of Apple's tablet share

Apple’s iPad is still – unsurprisingly – top of the pops with the growing tablet crowd. In the fourth quarter of 2010, research group Strategy Analytics reckons total slate shipments doubled. But learning from the smartphone boom Apple had a lead on for far too long, Android tablets are already beginning to eat into market share.

As tablet could easily have been defined as “iPad” for the majority of 2010, so the Samsung Galaxy Tab has been the Android contender. Apple’s market domination hit a respectable 75 percent – but that’s down from 96 percent. Samsung’s gizmo, the Galaxy Tab, was mainly to thank for Android’s market sure booming from 2.3 percent to 22 percent. Talking to the Wall Street Journal, Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics says the Galaxy Tab was “the main driver of Android’s success, as the model was launched in dozens of countries and promoted heavily by Samsung.”

With the Xoom and plenty other high profile releases in store could it be a case of history repeats itself? 

By making its platform open Android is on course to pull off the same market heist it grabbed in the smartphone space. Google’s OS is globally appealing because it is a quality product that can be implemented on a range of different devices – whether in the US, France, China or South Korea. If tablets truly are going to be the next big thing in consumer tech, Apple may find its haphazard attitude outside of western markets could be its undoing in terms of share.

Then again – it could be argued that Apple need not bother anyway. Whether or not it loses its dominance, and Android is keen that it will. Apple’s strength is in its brand and desirability as a luxury item. A flooded Android market could build on its brand rather than diminish it.

It may in the end be a case of integration. Manufacturers want you to link your phone up to your tablet to your car and to your computer and in the end it may be whoever has the strongest overall products that takes the cake.