Google's Android operating system will rise to 40 percent market share for tablet computers through the fourth quarter, thanks largely to the low-cost Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.
Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's (NASDAQ:BNBN) Nook Tablet will power Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform to 40.3 percent media tablet market share in the fourth quarter of 2011.
That's up from up from 32.4 percent in Q3, according to IDC, which estimated the media tablet market
grew 24 percent on a sequential basis to 18.1 million units. For an idea of how the tablet market has ballooned, that unit shipment total is higher than the 18 million units sold in all of 2010, according to IDC's count
Moreover, the market researcher is seeing such strong demand in this quarter that it has boosted its worldwide shipment forecast for 2011 to 63.3 million units, up from its previous tally of 62.5 million units.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which established the market and set a high bar with its popular iPad, shipped 11.1 million iPads in Q3. That's good for 61.5 percent worldwide market share, but down from 63.3 percent in Q2.
IDC said HP (NYSE:HPQ) nibbled at iPad's market share in Q3, selling over 900,000 TouchPads by heavily discounting the webOS-based slate to $99. Barnes & Noble sold over 800,000 Nook Color electronic readers, which IDC began counting as a media tablet last quarter.
Like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, the Nook Color is an Android-based device. Those three devices, along with a passel of Android tablets from Samsung, Motorola Mobility and HTC, will help push the iPad to 59 percent market share through Q4.
Android will also significantly ding Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry PlayBook, which IDC sees slipping from 1.1 percent share to 0.7 percent share through the end of the year.
"Amazon and Barnes & Noble are shaking up the media tablet market, and their success helps prove that there is an appetite for media tablets beyond Apple's iPad," said IDC analyst Tom Mainelli.
Financial analysts are modeling Amazon to sell anywhere from 4 million to 6 million Fires in 2011. The Nook Tablet is also expected to sell well this holiday quarter.
The Fire costs $199 and the Nook Tablet sells for $249, making both devices friendly to price-conscious consumers seeking a tablet at a time when the iPad starts at $499. Moreover, IDC expects additional low-cost Android tablets to pressure the iPad.
However, don't expect the iPad to lose too much share. IDC expects Q4 to be Apple's best quarter for the iPad. Moreover, with the iPad racking up market share in the enterprise and education sectors and an iPad 3 certainly on the way in early 2012, the future is certainly bright for the leading slate.