Android smartphones are definitely putting on a great show. As the total number of Android devices around the world jets past 300 million and 850,000 devices get activated each day, nobody in their right mind would argue that Android has become the most powerful platform. It exceeded an estimated 50 percent of the market for smartphones both globally and in the United States. The same cannot be said for Android tablets. Whilst Android-driven slates saw a much-needed uptick since the arrival of tablet-optimized Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software, Apple’s iPad still dominates the once niche and now rising market segment.

Google is well aware of its shortcomings in the tablet arena and the company is ready to “double down on tablets,” according to its mobile head Andy Rubin. He told The Verge that in two years some 12 million Android tablets were sold—the figure he called “not insignificant, but less than I’d expect it to be if you really want to win.” He is hoping that “2012 is going to be the year that we double down and make sure we’re winning in that space.” Acknowledging the overall lack of high-quality apps is an issue resulting in many prospective buyers considering Apple’s iPad, Rubin urged developers to “put in the muscle and make their apps work great on tablets.”

By the way, we wonder if by “doubling down” Rubin meant a self-branded 7-inch Ice Cream Sandwich tablet said to arrive by summer with a $199 price tag. Also, it was not immediately clear from the report whether the 12 million figure includes the millions of Fire tablets Amazon sold thus far (likely not, as that device runs forked Android software), but clearly Samsung has done a lot here to help push Android slates.

Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during the 14-week period ending Dec. 31, 2011, which is an 111 percent increase moving more than 50 million units to date. The company is reportedly gearing up to unveil a third-generation iPad with an ultra high-resolution display at a media event in early March. Bloomberg recently reported that iPad 3 production is well underway and shipments are apparently coming from China for delivery to three of America’s biggest airports. The company is also thought to launch a smaller iPad in response to Amazon’s well-received 7-inch $199 Kindle Fire tablet, the Wall Street Journal asserted. AllThingsD, the blog ran by Dow Jones, which owns the Wall Street Journal, said Amazon will launch a 9-inch Fire mid-year, and Samsung already covered a wide range of screen sizes with its Galaxy Tab tablet family.

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