2012 may become the year that a Kindle Fire heats up the competition to the iPad. Analysts predict that 106.1 million tablets will be sold in 2012 an increase over previous predictions.
IDC reported that Amazon shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fire tablets, totaling 16.8% of tablet shipments worldwide. Samsung showed a slight gain at 5.8%.
Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads in 4Q11, up from 11.1 million in the third quarter of 2011.
Worldwide media tablet shipments increased by 56.1% on a sequential basis in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011.
Android made some strong gains in 4Q11, thanks in large part to the Amazon Kindle Fire's success (the Fire runs a custom version of Google's Android OS). Android grew its market share from 32.3% in 3Q11 to 44.6% in 4Q11.
As a result, iOS slipped from 61.6% market share to 54.7%; Blackberry slipped from 1.1% to 0.7%. webOS, which owned 5% of the worldwide market in 3Q11, dropped to zero in 4Q11.
In the future, IDC expects Android to continue to grow its share of the market at the expense of iOS.
Forrester increased its tablet forecast and expects that 112.5 million US adults will own a tablet in 2016 or over a third of American adults
While rumors circulate that there may be a seven-inch iPad. There are also reports that there may be a ten-inch Kindle Fire. On top of that there may be a Google Nexus tablet cheaply priced to compete, too.