Global tablet computer sales surge 142.4pc – Android has 56pc of market

2 May 2013

The tablet computer segment of the technology industry is continuing to enjoy exponential growth, with IDC reporting 142.4pc growth in the first quarter, with 49.2m devices shipped. Android is now the dominant OS with 56.5pc market share.

Apple remains the largest individual manufacturer of tablet devices, with 19.5m devices shipped, giving it 39.6pc of the world market, down from 58pc a year ago.

Samsung has 17.9pc of the world market, shipping 8.8m tablet computers during the first quarter.

The third largest vendor was ASUS, with 5.5pc of the world market, followed by Amazon, with 3.7pc of the market, and Microsoft, with 1.8pc of the market.

“Sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC.

“In addition, by moving the iPad launch to the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple seems to have avoided the typical first-quarter slowdown that traditionally occurred when consumers held off buying in January and February in anticipation of a new product launch in March.”

Microsoft enters top 5 for the first time


Microsoft, which is a focal point for many in the tablet space, entered the top5 for the first time, as shipments of its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets combined for a total of nearly 900,000 units.

Many of those units were Surface Pro, which the company started shipping to the US and Canada in February. Microsoft has said it is actively widening its regional distribution of both Surface RT and Surface Pro products.

Beyond the Surface products, Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets continued to struggle to gain traction in the market. Total combined Windows 8 and Windows RT shipments across all vendors reached 1.8m units.

“Recent rumours have circulated about the possibility of smaller-screen Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets hitting the market,” said Ryan Reith, programme manager for IDC’s Mobility Tracker programme.

“However, the notion that this will be the saving grace is flawed. Clearly the market is moving toward smart 7-8 inch devices, but Microsoft’s larger challenges centre around consumer messaging and lower cost competition.

“If these challenges are addressed, along with the desired screen size variations, then we could see Microsoft make even further headway in 2013 and beyond,” Reith said.

Tablet computing image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years