Its official: iPad still king supremo of tabs after Android failed to shine.

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iPad king of the tabs

Thats according to analysts IDC who note Android tabs, including the likes of Samsung, Acer and Asus, failed to fight off Apple in the tabs market in Q1 2012 – helped by 4G LTE iPad 3 launched in March.

Apple shifted a massive 11.8 million iPads during the first three months of 2012, down from 15.4m in Q4 ’11, but despite this its global market share grew from 54.7% in 4Q to 68%.

The Retina screen, 4G ready (well, in US) iPad 3 or “new iPad” as Apple christened it, sold a whopping 3m in its first weekend of sale alone.

A steep drop in shipments of Android-based tablets offset a strong quarter from Apple, noted IDC.

Android had managed to scrape back some share late last year, but it looks like the iPad 3 saw off any threat from the Green Man.

But in fact, tab demand missed projections made by IDC.

Global tablet shipments for Q1 amounted to 17.4 million – a staggering 38.4% below previous quarter’s record-breaking 28.2m shipments.

However, it still represents a robust year-over-year growth rate of 120%, notes IDC.

“Apple reasserted its dominance in the market this quarter,…. when all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting big gains during the holiday buying season,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices at IDC.

Apple’s move to position the iPad as an ‘all-purpose tablet’, instead of just a content consumption device, is also resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers.

And keeping a cut price iPad 2 in the market was a gamble that also paid off for Cupertino.

Samsung came in at No. 2 in the tab race and “took advantage of Amazon’s weakness,” say IDC.

Amazon stormed into the market with its $199 7″ Kindle Fire last quarter to grab No.2 tab spot – or 16.8% – but saw its share decline significantly to just over 4% this year, falling to the No. 3 spot.

Think Pad maker Lenovo vaulted into the number four spot, followed by Barnes & Noble at number five.

Samsung, who recently released its 8.9 tab here in Oz and Lenovo are beginning to gain traction in the market with their latest Android, say analysts, and expects Droid to rebound quickly.

“It seems some of the mainstream Android vendors are finally beginning to grasp a fact that Amazon, B&N, and Pandigital figured out early on: to compete in the media tablet market with Apple, they must offer their products at notably lower price points,” Mainelli added.


IDC analysts are also predicting ” a new, larger-screened device” from Amazon at an aggressive price tag, and Google will enter the market with a very price friendly Asus tablet to go head-to-head with Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

“The search giant’s new tablet will run a pure version of Android, whereas the Fire runs Amazon’s own forked version of the OS that cuts Google out of the picture.”

However, the impact of Microsoft’s Windows 8 – and Windows tablets, expected later this year – will change the landscape.

“The worldwide tablet market is entering a new phase in the second half of 2012 that will undoubtedly reshape the competitive landscape,” said Bob O’Donnell, IDC program vice president, Clients and Displays.

“While Apple will continue to sit comfortably on the top for now, the battle for the next several positions is going to be fierce. Throw in Ultrabooks, the launch of Windows 8, and a few surprise product launches, and you have all the makings of an incredible 2012 holiday shopping season.”

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