Tablets using Google’s Android OS gained momentum in the third quarter of 2012 as a total of 27.8 million units were shipped worldwide across all platforms, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker report.
Samsung and Amazon led Android device shipments with the growth in market share coming at the expense of Apple, which saw its global tablet market share slip from 65.5 percent in the second quarter to 50.4 percent.
Samsung secured an 18.4 percent market share with 5.1 million tablets shipped. This represented an increase of 115 percent over the previous quarter and a 325 percent improvement on the same period in 2011.
Samsung was followed by Amazon, Asus and Lenovo, which all saw sequential growth. Amazon’s introduction of a HD version of the Kindle Fire helped it grow its share during the period to 9 percent compared to 4.8 percent in the prior quarter. Asus was boosted by shipments of its Google-branded Nexus 7 while Lenovo benefited from strong demand in China.
The overall tablet market grew by 49.5 percent compared to the same quarter in 2011, and 6.7 percent compared to the previous quarter.
IDC research director Tom Mainelli put the slowing growth for Apple down to the rumours of the iPad mini, meaning consumers looking to buy an iPad put off purchasing a device during the period.
With the arrival of the mini iPad and the fourth-generation full-sized version, IDC expects Apple’s market share to improve during the fourth quarter, although Mainelli said the mini’s price of US$329 “leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter".
IDCs Mobile Device Trackers programme manager Ryan Reith said competitors are “turning up the pressure” on Apple and that the introduction of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets provides a third viable tablet platform. However, he warned that Microsoft’s high pricing for its Surface device could present a challenge in winning market share.