Android tablets surprisingly taking large chunk of tablet pie

A new report says that in the final quarter of 2010, Android tablets took a surprisingly dent-worthy 22% of the multimedia tablet market, significantly knocking down the iPad which had previously commanded a 95% reign in the category.

Strategy Analytics reports that thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and other, low-cost Android devices that spurred holiday sales, Android’s market share for tablets skyrocketed from just 2.3% in the third quarter of last year to a 22%, a nearly 1,000% increase.

Meanwhile, the iPad, which basically created the market and thus held a 95% market share in the third quarter, was knocked down a peg to just 75%.

This comes despite many analyst estimates that Android wouldn’t be able to make a dent in the iPad’s territory until well into 2011 if at all. But despite the Galaxy Tab’s high price, people bought it. It’s already sold more than two million units.

People seem to have underestimated how popular Android is, but the news continues to be nothing but positive for the Google-owned operating system. Last month it overtook Nokia’s Symbian as the leading smartphone platform around the world, and it continues to have a wider installed base than Apple’s iOS.

Strategy Analytics goes so far as to predict that the iPad, which invented the current tablet market, will dip below 50% market share in the industry by the time 2013 rolls around.

That’s just the way the ball bounces sometimes.