Tablet computers end 2012 with 75 percent shipment surge [Boston Herald]
(Boston Herald (MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 31--Sales of tablet computers soared during the holiday shopping season, as Apple's iPad continued to dominate the market while Microsoft scratched at the "Surface."
Framingham tech researcher IDC counted 52.5 million tablet units shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter, a 75 percent increase compared to the same three-month period in 2011.
"We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn't disappoint," said Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC. "New product launches from the category's top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season."
By contrast, PC shipments declined during the quarter for the first time in more than five years, he added.
With the iPad, including a newly launched mini version with a smaller screen, Apple controlled nearly 44 percent of the tablet market. But that was down from nearly 52 percent a year ago as competition heated up.
Samsung -- maker of Android and Windows 8 tablets -- ranked second with a 15 percent market share, up from about 7 percent, while Amazon.com and its Kindle accounted for 11.5 percent of shipments.
Asus, which makes the Google-branded Nexus 7, and Nook seller Barnes & Noble rounded out the top five in tablet market share.
Microsoft entered the market during the fourth quarter with its Surface with Windows RT tablet, but failed to reach the top five after shipping fewer than 900,000 units.
"There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul. However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company's Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best," said Ryan Reith, program manager for mobile device trackers at IDC.
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