Apple’s share of the market for tablet computers fell to 50 per cent in the third quarter as the iPad faced more competition from Android devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy tablets and Google’s Nexus 7.
Apple still had a solid lead and shipped more iPads worldwide than a year earlier, according to a study published on Monday’s study by IDC. Apple had no new tablets out in the third quarter. It also might have seen sales slow amid expectations of a smaller iPad.
Apple could regain share in the holiday quarter with last Friday’s release of new iPad devices, including the iPad Mini. Apple said on Monday that it sold 3 million iPads of all kinds over the last weekend; double the 1.5 million iPads sold in the first three days after Apple launched the third-generation iPad in March and cut the price of the iPad 2.
However, the company will face competition from new devices from Amazon, Google and others over the next few weeks.
In the July-September period, Apple shipped 14 million devices, up 26 per cent from 11 million a year ago. But its market share fell from 60 per cent in the third quarter of 2011 as the overall tablet market grew by 50 per cent to nearly 28 million.
Samsung’s market share grew to 18 per cent, from about 7 per cent, as it more than quadrupled the number of tablets shipped to 5.1 million. The quarter saw the release of the Galaxy Note 10.1, a device built for use with a stylus.
Amazon.com was in third with its Kindle Fire, which had a 9 per cent market share. Amazon did not release a new version until late in the quarter, but it had nothing in the third quarter of 2011 because the Fire was not released until last November, after the quarter ended. Amazon managed a 9 per cent worldwide share even though the Fire was available only in the United States during the third quarter.
No 4 tablet maker AsusTek Computer, which makes the Nexus 7 for Google, saw its shipments more than triple to 2.4 million. It had a share of 8.6 per cent, up from 3.8 per cent.
“Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple,” said Ryan Reith, a programme manager for mobile devices at IDC.
Amazon and Google will start shipping larger versions of their tablets this month. The Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 both have screens measuring 17.7cm diagonally. Google’s Nexus 10 will be 25.65cm, while Amazon’s will be 22.6cm. By comparison, the regular iPad is 24.6cm. Samsung is making the larger Nexus tablet, while AsusTek will continue making 17.7cm one.
Meanwhile, tablets and other devices running Microsoft’s Windows system started going on sale last month, after the third quarter ended, including Microsoft’s own Surface.