iPad share of tablet OS market falls below 50%

Apple's popular tablet delivered only 48% of tablet traffic, mobile ad firm says

Is there a sea change afoot in the tablet market?

New data from mobile ad company Jumptap show Apple's iPad generating less than 50% of tablet Internet traffic for the first time.

In January the iPad accounted for 48% of tablet traffic, according to Jumptap, down from 52% in December, 65% in November and 75% in October.

This despite a 50% increase in tablet traffic from December to January. What happened to precipitate the iPad's freefall?

Amazon.com's Kindle Fire is what happened. The Kindle Fire generated 33% of tablet traffic in January, Jumptap reports. That's from 4% in December.

Meanwhile, the "others" category saw its share of tablet traffic fall to 20% in January from 29% in December. Will Research in Motion's PlayBook 2.0 update in late February reverse this downslide when the March numbers come out?

Given that the iPad 3 release is due for March, it's not likely. Apple will attract not only upgraders when the new tablet goes on sale, it will pull in new customers. Don't be surprised to see the iPad gain tablet traffic share in March and possibly April.

But the Kindle Fire has proven, as someone predicted, to be a viable tablet contender. Can anyone else besides Apple say that at this point?

Jumptap says it reaches 142 million mobile users worldwide and 95 million in the U.S.

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