We were expecting a changing of the guard among tablets given the rise of several competitors throughout in 2012, and we've seen just that in IDC's market share estimates for the first quarter of 2013. The research firm shows Android having almost reversed the share it held a year ago, claiming the top spot at 56.5 percent; Apple's huge spike in year-over-year iPad sales wasn't enough to keep it from dipping to 39.6 percent. Microsoft's estimated performance tells a more complex story, however. Its second quarter of Windows 8 and RT sales involved a big year-to-year jump as well, but it was also starting largely from scratch -- the combined Windows platform was still tiny at 3.7 percent.
The pecking order remained mostly the same among individual manufacturers, although the charts here explain just why OS share shifted so much in the winter. While Apple remained comfortably in front with its 39.6 percent, just about every rival made a dent: Samsung, ASUS, Amazon and Microsoft all gained at least a small amount, even if no one manufacturer posed a major threat. IDC is providing shipping numbers that don't necessarily reflect the on-the-ground sales, especially when everyone beyond Apple declines to report official numbers, but they suggest that tablets like the Nexus 7 and Surface Pro have found at least a small audience.