updated 06:44 pm EST, Tue November 27, 2012
Apple tablets still dominate overall sales
The iPad continues to dominate the tablet market, however a report published by ABI Research suggests competing tablets continue to chip away at Apple's market share. The iPad lineup is said to account for 55 percent of tablet shipments in the third quarter, marking a 14 percent drop from the previous quarter and Apple's lowest share since the original iPad debuted two years ago.
Shipment numbers from Samsung, Amazon and ASUS follow behind Apple, as Google's mobile OS is now utilized by 44 percent of tablet shipments, according to ABI's report. iOS and Android together represent 99 percent of tablet shipments, leaving little room for RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook or Windows-powered tablets.
"As the OS of choice for the majority of device OEMs, we expect the Android ecosystem to continue growing in numbers -- new manufacturers, better device choices for reaching more markets, and more developers finding value from apps and content," said ABI senior practice director Jeff Orr.
The research firm suggests that Apple's new iPad mini, which was not included in the third-quarter analysis, will not take market share back from Android, however it is expected to cause demand for standard iPad models to "shift down-market."
"With the introduction of a smaller, lower-cost iPad mini, Apple has acknowledged Androidís beachhead of 7-inch-class tablets, though at the same time, it has failed to deliver a knock-out punch through innovation, pricing, and availability during the most critical selling period of the year," Orr said.
Despite the apparent gain in Android tablet share observed by ABI Research, shipment numbers to retail stores may not accurately reflect actual sell-through to customers. IBM's Benchmark Service, which tracked customer transactions from over 500 retailers, found that the iPad accounted for more than 88 percent of Black Friday tablet sales. Although the IBM report focuses on one particular day, the data casts doubt on Android's impact to iPad market share.
A recent Nielsen survey suggests the iPad tops holiday wish lists of children and teens in the US. A separate survey conducted by security company Avast further indicated that nearly a third of respondents were planning to purchase an iPad as their next computing device, instead of another PC.