NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the tablet sector poised to explode in the next year, a host of manufacturers are hoping to unseat market leader Apple ( AAPL). Tablet sales are expected to reach 54.8 million in 2011, up from 19.5 million the year before, Gartner says.
Apple's iPad captured 75% of global tablet shipments in the quarter ending in December, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, but has seen its market share eroded by Google's ( GOOG) Android-based devices. Android tablets, which are produced by vendors including Samsung, Motorola ( MMI) and Acer, accounted for 22% of shipments, up from 2.3% in the previous quarter. Samsung's Galaxy Tab has been a key driver of Android's success, says Strategy Analytics, and a slate of new releases from other manufacturers is expected to boost market share for Google's OS this year. Of these Android tablets, Motorola's recently-released Xoom has been heralded as one of the first real competitors to the iPad, despite mixed early reviews. Outside the Android realm, Research in Motion's ( RIMM) PlayBook is also viewed a threat to the iPad, although a release date for the device has yet to be set. But while these tablets could steal some market share, it's unlikely they will replace Apple as market leader, particularly with the reported release of the iPad 2 in the next several months, analysts say. "We are even more confident in strong iPad sales post Mobile World Congress, as competitor products lacked differentiation (Android tablets) or lacked applications ( HP ( HPQ) TouchPad or PlayBook)," Canaccord Genuity's Michael Walkley wrote in a note to clients. So that said, what brand appeals to you? We want to know what tablets TheStreet readers have bought, or plan to buy.
--Written by Olivia Oran in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.