Research firm Strategy Analytics discovers that shipments of Android-driven tablets are finally beginning to make a meaningful impact on the overall tablet market. Yes, Android slates are making their presence known, even though iPad is still king of the hill. According to the research firm’s survey, June quarter tablet shipments topped 15.1 million units, a material increase over the 3.5 million units from the year-ago period. Apple seized the #1 slot with 9.25 million iPads the company reported for the June quarter, representing a 61.3 percent share of the tablet market overall.

At the same time, Android tablets have gone from 2.9 percent market share in June 2010 to 30.1 percent in June 2011, a surprising 27.2 percentage points increase based on sales of 4.55 million units. In the year-ago quarter Apple enjoyed a 94 percent share, so iPad’s 33 percentage points drop is substantial no matter how you look at it. GSM Arena observes that “in terms of market share, the iOS lead in the past quarter is nearly three times smaller than it was in the same period of last year”. Granted, the change in market dynamics isn’t surprising at all…

Just remember that a year ago Google’s tablet-tailored Android Honeycomb software wasn’t ready for prime time. As a result, non-Apple vendors were incapacitated in their ability to mount competitive challenge to iPad’s dominance. It is reasonable to assume, one might agree, that even the most rabid fans surely do not expect Apple’s dominance in the tablet space to last forever as dozes of vendors get in the game and flood the market with a plethora of devices in varied form factors, sizes and price points. It is interesting that Strategy Analytics’ survey shows sales of Windows-powered tablets (4.6 percent) outselling Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet (3.3 percent). RIM, just like Nokia, is facing public perception issues of its own as once the leading smartphone platform becomes an also-ran in both smartphone and tablet worlds due to consumers flocking to Android and Apple devices. The BlackBerry maker is also facing a brain drain, with PlayBook product manager leaving for Samsung, a third high-profile departure at RIM in a month’s time.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com

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