New data from technology market research firm IDC shows impressive growth in tablet shipments for the fourth quarter of 2011. So impressive, in fact, that the firm has adjusted its 2012 forecast from 87.7 million units sold to 106.1 units sold.

According to the company’s data Tracker, worldwide tablet shipments were up 56.1 percent in the fourth quarter, representing 28.2 million units. That’s a 155 percent increase from the same period in 2010. IDC says 68.7 million units were shipped during the full year of 2011.

No surprise, Apple dominated fourth quarter shipments, reaching 15.4 million units, a 110.5 percent increase over same period 2010. Its share of market dipped, however, from 61.5 percent in the third quarter to 54.7 percent in the fourth.

That left room for Android to gain some ground in the fourth quarter, mostly as a result of Amazon’s Kindle Fire sales. Android jumped from a 32.3 percent market share in the third quarter to a 44.6 percent share in the fourth. IDC says that Android will continue to grow its market share as Apple slips further.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire shipped 4.7 million units, says IDC, representing a 16.8 percent market share for the quarter, a second place finish. Its introduction into the market however, lifted everyone’s boats. The push from Amazon seemed to have the effect of energizing sales for the entire category, says IDC’s mobile connected devices research director Tom Mainelli. "As a result, products across the pricing spectrum sold well, including everything fro Apple’s premium-priced iPads to Pandigital’s line of Android-based, entry-level tablets," he says.

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