updated 12:09 pm EDT, Sun October 28, 2012
Windows tablet market share drops
Android tablets made a considerable leap in terms of market share last quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. The research firm saw the tablet sector growing compared to the same quarter last year, with Apple's iPad still in the overwhelming lead over any individual competitor. Android-based tablets, though, collectively lopped eight percentage points off of Apple's market share, taking the iPad maker from 64.5 percent of tablet shipments in the third quarter of 2011 to 56.7 percent for the same quarter 2012. Growth in Android tablets also came at the expense of Microsoft and other manufacturers, who saw their shares of shipments declining last quarter.
Overall, the tablet sector shipped 25 million units in the third quarter of 2012. That's up 43 percent from the same quarter in 2011, though analysts at Strategy Analytics expressed disappointment in the totals, attributing them in no small part to a sluggish global economy. This past quarter's growth in tablet shipments was the lowest since the "modern tablet industry" began in Q2 2012 with the introduction of the iPad.
Apple shipped 14 million iPads last quarter, while the Android segment moved 10.2 million units. While Apple's shipments were up only three million year-over-year, though, Android shipments more than doubled. That doubling brought Android's share of tablet shipments from 29.2 percent for the third quarter of 2011 to 41.3 percent for this past quarter.
Microsoft saw shipments of tablets running its software stay level at about 400,000; given the growth in the tablet market, though, their share declined from 2.3 to 1.6 percent. Microsoft's decline in the sector may be due in part to consumers waiting until the release of Microsoft's Surface tablets and other devices running Windows 8. Strategy Analytics expects that the release of Windows 8 will drive Microsoft's tablet volumes higher in the fourth quarter.
Other operating systems, including Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS, dropped from 4.1 percent in q3 2011 to 0.4 percent this year.