iPad plummets to 50% tablet share in Q3, Android gains steam
Worldwide tablet shipments reached 27.8 million units during the third quarter of 2012, growing 49.5 percent year-over-year and 6.7 percent compared to second-quarter shipments, according to new data from research firm IDC.
Although Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad continues to lead the global tablet market with third-quarter shipments of 14 million, up from 11.1 million a year ago, its market share dominance is in sharp decline thanks to accelerating manufacturer support for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. Total shipments of Android tablets surged to 13.8 million during the third quarter, up from 7.5 million in the year-ago period.
IDC notes that the iPad still represented 50.4 percent of all tablets shipped in the third quarter of 2012, but fell from 59.7 percent a year ago and plummeted from 65.5 percent in the second quarter. Android accounted for 49.6 percent of tablet shipments during the third quarter of 2011, a year-over-year increase of 9.3 percentage points. Samsung Electronics led all Android tablet vendors with quarterly shipments of 5.1 million, followed by Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) at 2.5 million and Asus at 2.4 million.
"After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumors of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up," said Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director, tablets. "We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini's relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter."
Fourth-quarter tablet shipments could experience another shakeup: "With the recent introduction of a number of [Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT)] Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose," said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDCs Mobile Device Trackers division. "However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500."
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