Apple's wildly popular iPad continues to dominate the tablet market at 55%, although Cupertino's share of the lucrative space declined approximately 14% in 3Q 2012.
"Despite maintaining its lead for 10 straight quarters, competition from tablets powered by Google’s Android OS continue to eat away at Apple’s success," explained ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr.
"Fifty-five percent is the lowest share Apple has ever had since launching the iPad in 2010."
According to Orr, Apple has essentially acknowledged Android’s beachhead incursion of 7-inch-class tablets by introducing a smaller, lower-cost iPad mini.
"However, it has failed to deliver a knock-out punch through innovation, pricing, and availability during the most critical selling period of the year,” he opined.
Indeed, following Apple in shipment share this past quarter were Samsung (Galaxy class), Amazon (Kindle Fire), Google (Nexus) and Asus (Transformer), with Android now powering more than 44% of tablets shipped.
Interestingly, rather than stealing share from Android, ABI Research believes the iPad mini has actually caused demand for standard iPad models to shift down-market.
"As the OS of choice for the majority of device OEMs, 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," added Orr.