Apple continues to win big time when it comes to tablet market share, but its ruling of the segment has become fragile. ABI Research’s latest figures show that the Apple tablet has a 55% share of all shipments during the past quarter. They’ve been leading the pack since 2010, when the iPad was introduced.

It’s important to notice that this is a 14% dip compared to the previous quarter, which is a pretty serious matter. If the things keep going this way, Android could overtake the iPad when it comes to tablet share by mid 2013, according to expert. Last year when the iPad had 80% of the market share, such things seemed impossible and yet here we are. The thing that happened to Android phones and iPhones is happening to the tablets as well. Just like the Android handsets took over the market from the iPhone, the Nexus, Kindles, Galaxy Tabs and Transformers will take the reign from the iPad.

However, back in 2010 when the iPad seemed invincible, estimations put its reign to an end in 2015 or 2016, not 2013, so Android is moving faster than predicted. Back in 2011 a Gartner study said that Apple would keep 47% of the market in 2015 and Android would have 38%, for some reason. Android now has 44% of the market and there’s really no third player here, with WebOS dying fast and the RIM PlayBook failing to matter in the long run. The quality and variety of the Google OS-based slates are the reasons for this takeover that’s happening right now.

The holiday season will be a crucial battle for Apple and Google. Who will win?