Android tablet share stands at 39%

The number of people who bought an Android tablet in the most recent fiscal quarter is triple what it was the year before.

As such, the operating system is continuing to chip away at Apple’s tablet market share.

Apple, which essentially invented the modern-day “tablet” category, now sits at a 57.6% market share, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Keep in mind that number was at one point 100%.

A year ago, the iPad accounted for 68.2% of tablet sales, so Apple is not headed in the direction it would hope for. Compare that to Android, which shot from 29% to 39.1% in the same time frame.

Strategy Analytics didn’t cite specific tablet models, but there’s no doubt the affordable $200 Kindle Fire helped that number swell in a big way.

In pure numbers, 10.5 million Android tablets were shipped in Q4 2011, compared to 3.1 million the year before. If you look at total revenue, though, Apple most definitely has the upper hand.

Nevertheless, the cost of hardware is becoming increasingly irrelevant as consumers buy more and more digital content. Amazon’s strategy with the Kindle Fire is to practically give away the tablet and earn its money back through MP3 downloads, e-books, digital magazines, TV shows, and movies. That’s a lot of revenue streams.

On the other hand, Apple rakes in money on iPad sales but doesn’t offer a lot of expensive digital content in the way the Kindle Fire does.

These numbers are on a global scale. In the US, the iPad is more dominant and abroad there are many countries where Android is the primary player.