Tablet computers using Google's Android software narrowed the lead of Apple's iPad on the global market in the fourth quarter, research firm Strategy Analytics said on Thursday.
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Global tablet shipments reached an all-time high of 26.8 million units in the fourth quarter, growing 2-1/2 fold from 10.7 million a year earlier, the research firm said.
Android's market share rose to 39 percent from 29 percent a year earlier, while Apple's share slipped to 58 percent from 68 percent a year before.
The tablet computer market grew 260 percent last year to 66.9 million units as consumers are increasingly buying tablets in preference to netbooks and even entry-level notebooks or desktops.
Strategy Analytics said Microsoft had a 1 percent share of the global tablet market last quarter. (Reporting By Tarmo Virki; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)