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HP tabs account for 17% of all non-iPad devices, new figures have shown – knocking rival Samsung off its pole position as Apple’s nearest rival in the US market.

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Sitting Pretty: HP TouchPad the biggest selling non-Apple device, but not for long.

This move up the tab charts was clearly due to HP’s somewhat premature decision to ditch its webOS TouchPad tablet back in July, which prompted retailers, including Harvey Norman here, to flog the tab at a cut price $98 in August and $149 for 32GB version model.

However, the Galaxy Tab maker fell back to the number three spot with 16%, losing its previously held No. 2 place, something which Samsung prides itself on as Apple’s main rival.

But HP’s success was clearly a fluke rather than a mass consumer exodus.

Quite simply, the cheap stock sold well.

However, during the period January to October this year, 1.2 million non-iPad devices were sold.

Apple recently said it sold a whopping 11.12 million iPad and iPad 2 in the last quarter alone – meaning it holds a phenomenal presence in the tab space and will take much to beat.

And the Korean owned Samsung may fall back further if Apple has its way.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is already banned here in Australia (and Germany) pending a full court hearing set for this Friday before Sydney’s Federal Court.

But according to researchers NDP, a massive chunk of non-iPad buyers didn’t even contemplate buying the device, despite its monster cult following, meaning there is room for non iPad rivals, to compete.

According to NPD’s consumer tracking service, 76% of consumers who bought either an alternative OS tablet – either Android, BlackBerry PlayBook, or HP’s WebOS device had no interest in Apple.

And Apple alternatives grew steadily during 2011 – Q2 sales of non-Apple’s were three times higher than the first, and Q3 sales were double that of the previous quarter.

 

This is “an indication that a large group of consumers are looking for alternatives, and an opportunity for the rest of the market to grow their business,” said NPD analyst Stephen Baker.

“If you look at the tablet market without Apple there are a number of high-profile brands vying for that number two spot.”

Asus’ Transformer Android tablet fell behind Samsung to No.4 with 10%, followed by Motorola (9%) and Acer (9%) with its Iconia line up, said to be selling quite nicely here in Oz.

However, not to knock HP off its new perch completely, it has re-entered the tabs race with an 8.9″ Windows business tab called Slate.

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