Android Gains Ground In Tablet Market
November 5, 2012

Tablet Wars See Android Gaining Ground Over Apple

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The tablet market is steadily becoming more competitive as other manufacturers are releasing tablets worthwhile of rivaling Apple´s iPad. Since its 2010 release, the iPad has done nothing less than dominate the tablet market, outpacing competitors such as Samsung by tens of millions of units sold. Today, IDC and Apple have released numbers which show that while Apple still remains soundly in the lead, other tablets are also beginning to gain ground in this up and coming market.

While the market as a whole experienced some growth, up 6.7% from last quarter and 49.5% year-over-year, sales for Apple´s tablets slowed down as rumors of an iPad mini surged.

“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,” said Tom Mainelli, research director at IDC in a press statement.

“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.”

Apple´s worldwide market share took a sizable hit during the last quarter, slipping from 65.5% in 2Q12 to 50.4% in the third quarter. Though many were assumed to have been waiting for a new mini tablet, Apple still managed to ship 14 million iPads during the last quarter.

While some were waiting for Apple´s new mini, others continued to buy Android tablets, specifically Google´s Asus Nexus 7 HD and Samsung´s Galaxy Note 10.1.

Once again, it was Samsung who came in at number 2 behind Apple, shipping 5.1 million tablets worldwide in the third quarter. This is a significant year-over-year increase, where the South Korean company shipped only 1.2 million tablets. This increase has given them an 18.4% of the tablet market, up from 6.5% during the same period last year.

The rest of the tablet makers listed in the IDC report – Amazon, Asus and Lenovo – also experienced some measure of growth, either quarter-to-quarter or year-over-year. Amazon, which is listed at number three in terms of market share, shipped 2.5 million Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets in the third quarter. These Android-driven Fires had not been officially released in 3Q11, while the Fire HD tablet had only just begun shipping at the end of 3Q12. Despite their late entrance, Amazon was able to walk away with 9% of the tablet market, according to IDC.

Asus, the maker of Google´s new and popular Nexus 7 tablet also saw significant gains year-over-year in terms of shipments and market share. In 3Q11, Asus only managed to squeak out .7 million shipments for a 3.8% market share. During the most recent quarter, Asus saw a 242.9% increase, shipping 2.4 million tablets for an 8.6% market share.

“Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple,” writes Ryan Reith, a program manager for IDC in the press statement.

“With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose. 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.”

Customers likely haven´t been turned off by the $329 and $499 price tags of the new Apple tablets, as the Cupertino company announced today that they had sold 3 million of their latest iPads during opening weekend sales.

Brian White, no stranger to Apple predictions, goes even further and suggests that 60% of US Apple stores were sold out of the iPad mini while nearly 100% of American stores were sold out of all 16GB minis.