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Android tablet sales grew 127% in 2013, overtook iPads

Sales of Android tablets shot up by 127% last year, accounting for 62% of all sold, and overtaking iPads for the first time.

Android is the most popular operating system for mobile phones, and last year it became the most popular for tablets too. Sales of Android slates grew a whopping 127 per cent, propelling the OS to first place. Android now accounts for 62 per cent of all tablets sold.

That's according to figures from the number crunchers over at analyst firm Gartner. Tablets as a whole are booming too, with sales increasing 68 per cent compared to 2012. I'm guessing that tidal wave of budget models -- like the Tesco Hudl, Avoca 7 etc -- at the end of last year played a big part in boosting sales.

In 2013, 195.4 million tablets were sold around the world. Apple's iPads accounted for 36 per cent of all sales (down from 52 per cent in 2012), compared to Android's 61.9. In 2012, 45.8 per cent of all tablets sold ran Android. Microsoft had just 2.1 per cent of the market in 2013, up from 1 per cent in 2012.

2013 was truly the year tablets went mainstream. "In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

This year, tablet makers will have to give us punters more if they want to keep our business. "As the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditised, in 2014 it will be critical for vendors to focus on device experience and meaningful technology and ecosystem value -- beyond just hardware and cost -- to ensure brand loyalty and improved margins," Cozza said.

While Apple's share may have fallen overall, it still sells more tablets than anyone else with 36 per cent of the market. Samsung is second, with 19.1 per cent, while Asus is third. Amazon is fourth, with Lenovo fifth. Lenovo had a storming year, with tablet sales increasing 198 per cent thanks to its hybrid devices.

Did you expect Android to overtake iOS in tablet sales? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.