IDC: Android trumps iPad as tablet market growth slows

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Worldwide tablet shipment growth slowed significantly in the second quarter of 2013, with total volumes plummeting 9.7 percent quarter-over-quarter, research firm IDC reports. Vendors still shipped 45.1 million units during the period, however, increasing 59.6 percent over the same quarter in 2012.

IDC blamed the quarterly decline in part on lower-than-expected shipments of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) market-leading iPad. Apple shipped just 14.6 million iPads during the second quarter, compared to 19.5 million during the first three months of 2013. "In years past, Apple has launched a new tablet heading into the second quarter, which resulted in strong quarter-over-quarter growth," IDC said. "Now, Apple is expected to launch new tablet products in the second half of the year, a move that better positions it to compete during the holiday season."

Second-place Samsung Electronics also suffered declines, shipping 8.1 million tablets, down from 8.6 million in the previous quarter. Third-place Asus additionally dropped from shipments of 2.6 million in the first quarter to 2 million in the second quarter.

"A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors," said Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director of tablets. "With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that's likely to continue into the third quarter. However, by the fourth quarter we expect new products from Apple, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and others to drive impressive growth in the market."

While Apple continues to lead all rival manufacturers on quarterly tablet shipments, units running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system now dominate the global tablet ecosystem. Android ended the second quarter with a worldwide tablet market share of 62.6 percent, up 162.9 percent year-over-year. Apple's iOS dropped 14.1 percent over the second quarter of 2012, landing at 32.5 percent tablet share. Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows is next at 4 percent, up 527 percent over the previous year, followed by the fledgling Windows RT, introduced late last year but accounting for 0.5 percent of second-quarter 2013 market share.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) plummeted 32.8 percent year-over-year from 0.7 percent to 0.2 percent, casting additional doubt on the manufacturer's future in the tablet market. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins recently confirmed the company will not adapt its new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system for its aging PlayBook tablet--earlier this year, Heins told Bloomberg that he believes the tablet form factor will have a limited shelf life, and also said that BlackBerry will consider a PlayBook follow-up only if the product can offer a unique value proposition in a crowded market. David Smith, the head of BlackBerry's PlayBook tablet division, is set to leave the company in the near future.

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