Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) netted the highest tablet OS market share in the first quarter of 2013.
According to a report from analyst firm IDC, Android-based tablets accounted for 56.5 per cent of all slates sold over the three-month period, while Apple's iOS devices came in second, with 39.6 per cent market share.
However, Apple's range of iPads ensured it continued to be the biggest selling individual company, beating IDC's own shipment prediction to sell 19.5 million in the first quarter of 2013.
According to Tom Mainelli, research director of tablets at IDC, sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better than expected first quarter for Apple.
Also by moving the iPad launch to the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple seemed to have avoided the typical first-quarter slowdown that traditionally occurred when consumers held off buying in January and February in anticipation of a new product launch in March.
Samsung was placed at the second spot in a comparison of supplier against supplier, as it shipped 8.8 million units over the same period.
Microsoft entered the top five for the first time, at the fifth slot, shipping 900,000 of its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets.
However, other suppliers using Windows 8 or Windows RT on their devices, though struggled to make much of a success of it, and sold the same number put together as Microsoft on its own.
According to IDC research, tablet shipments in the first quarter of the year had totaled 49.2 million units, far exceeding the figures for the entire first half of 2012.
According to the research group, demand for tablet devices continued to remain strong, with the introduction of Apple's iPad mini helping fuel the boom.
Although Apple's share of the market was down to 39.6 per cent from 58.1 per cent a year ago, the firm took the first place in tablet sales charts.
IDC said the company exceeded analyst forecasts of 18.7 million units.
Number two vendor Samsung also posted sales numbers that came in better than expected with 8.8 million units as against 2.3 million units over the same period last year. According to IDC, Samsung had harnessed the power of its popular Android smartphone to bring its tablet products into new markets and channels.
The skyrocketing demand for tablet computers came following personal computers sales plunging 13.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, IDC figures released earlier in April showed.
This comes as the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year falling PC shipments, a decline attributed to the booming tablet and smartphone markets.