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Android tablets experience big December surge: report

Android tablets and crossover devices experienced significant growth in December, particularly the Kindle Fire, Galaxy Note and Nook tablet, according to new data from Localytics.

The numbers suggest that these Android tablets were big holiday gifts this year as all three devices experienced large jumps in the number of unique devices on the Localytics platform. The results also point to the need for marketers to include Android devices in their tablet strategy.

?The big news is that Android tablets saw a huge jump in unique users in December,? said Daniel Ruby, director of online marketing at Localytics, Boston. ?Whether that can be attributed to holiday gifts is unclear, it does demonstrate a real consumer appetite for them.

?Part of it was the success of the crossover devices - the two Galaxy Notes,? he said. ?Personally, I wasn't sure if devices that straddled the line between phone and tablet would catch on, but it appears that Samsung is on to something, and a good number of people are adopting them.

?I think Android tablets will see very nice growth in 2013, but whether December's numbers end up being sustainable or a year-end spike remains to be seen.?

Fire sale
The Kindle Fire HD 7, in particular, had an impressive month with a 322 percent increase in unique devices compared with November.

Other big gainers in December include the Galaxy Note II, with an 80 percent increase in unique devices; the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, with a 78 percent increase; the Galaxy Tab 2 7, with a 72 percent increase, and the Google-branded Nexus 7, with a 70 percent increase.

The Nook Tablet saw a 62 percent increase while the original Kindle Fire increased 53 percent.

While the iPad still dominates the tablet category, these numbers point to the growing headway Android tablets are making.

The newest iPads also made gains during December. In November, the iPad min and the 4th generation iPad each accounted for two percent of the iPad market soon after they became available.

In December, the 4th generation iPad had an eight percent share of the iPad market compared with a six percent share for the iPad Mini. These numbers suggest that, at least initially, the larger iPad is gaining more quickly than Apple's first foray into the smaller tablet segment.

User appeal
Among smartphones, the newest iPhone 5 reached an 18 percent share of all iPhones in use.

Android smartphones saw relatively modest growth rates during December.

While marketers have done a good job with their initial efforts to integrate the iPad into their strategies, these results underscore the need to also include Android tablets as part of any effort to reach tablet users.

?Android tablets should definitely be included in any marketer's strategy, at least if Android as a platform is already part of it,? Mr. Ruby said.

?Samsung, Amazon and Barnes and Noble have really done a good job getting devices that appeal to users on the market and well-distributed,? he said.

?Considering the marketing power behind Android tablets, I would recommend any marketer strongly consider them a growing, high-potential part of their digital strategy.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York