Apple's tablets made up 55 percent of third-quarter shipments, but it lost 14 percent to Android competitors, according to new research.
Apple's iPad continues to dominate the tablet market, but Google's Android appears to be taking a bite out of Apple's market share.
The iPad lineup made up 55 percent of tablet shipments in the third quarter, according to data released today by ABI Research, a 14 percent decline from the second quarter and its lowest level since the iPad's introduction in early 2010.
The benefactors of that lost market share were Samsung, Amazon, and Asus, as Google's mobile operating system now powers more than 44 percent of tablets shipped, ABI Research said, adding that it expects that market share to increase.
"As the OS of choice for the majority of device OEMs [original equipment manufacturers], we expect the Android ecosystem to continue growing in numbers -- new manufacturers, better device choices for reaching more markets, and more developers finding value from apps and content," ABI Research's Jeff Orr said in a statement.
That projection largely echoed predictions made by Sameer Singh, an analyst with mergers and acquisitions consulting group Finvista Advisors, who expects Android tablets shipments to surpass those of the iPad in the first half of next year.
The iPad Mini, which was released during the third quarter, is not expected to help Apple reclaim market share from Google, ABI predicted.
"With the introduction of a smaller, lower-cost iPad Mini, Apple has acknowledged Android's beachhead of 7-inch-class tablets, though at the same time, it has failed to deliver a knock-out punch through innovation, pricing, and availability during the most critical selling period of the year," Orr said.
Despite the report's dire predictions, the iPad remains one of the more sought-after gadgets this holiday season, especially among kids. Nearly half of children age 6 to 12 polled in the U.S. by research firm Nielsen listed Apple's tablet as the gadget they wanted most, the third year in a row the iPad has topped their wish lists. This year's list also includes Apple's iPad Mini, which tied for third place with the iPod Touch.