Shipments of tablets running Google Inc’s Android will overtake the iPad this year for the first time, research house IDC predicted on Tuesday, as Apple Inc cedes more mobile market share to hard-charging rivals around the globe, Reuters reports. A growing variety of smaller and cheaper Android tablets from Google to Amazon.com Inc will catch on this year with more consumers and chip away at Apple’s dominance since the first iPad launched in 2010, International Data Corp said. iPad and iPhone shipments are expected to keep growing at enviable rates, but arch-rival Samsung Electronics and others have hurt Apple with a combination of savvy marketing, greater variety and rapid technology adoption. On Thursday, Samsung takes the wraps off the fourth generation of its flagship Galaxy, the smartphone that helped the South Korean giant knock the iPhone off its top ranking for part of last year…

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staff and wire services reports