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Samsung is among the big winners

According to the International Data Corp. (IDC), one of the world's largest sources of business analysis, the tablet market shifted dramatically over the last year.

A year ago nearly three out of every five tablets sold was an iPad (59.7 percent).  This year, as sales rose, Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) share shrank – now; roughly 1 out of every 2 tablets is an iPad (50.4 percent).

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) today accounts for nearly 1 in 5 units sold.  It has an 18.4 percent market share and moved 5.1m units in the quarter, despite bans from Apple hindering its sales in multiple key markets.


ASUSTek Computer Inc.'s (TPE:2357) now has 8.6 percent of the total market (2.4m units).  That was good enough to place ASUS into a virtual dead heat with Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) a newcomer that now holds 9.0 percent of the market (2.5m units shipped).  Amazon also uses Android, albeit a heavily modified version of that has branched off the base code.

The Hong Kong-based Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992) cracked the top 5 with 400,000 units sold, which gives you an idea of how poorly the "other" OEMs -- such as Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) fared.

How Q4 will shape up, though, will be the really interesting thing to see.  Google Inc. (GOOG) will have to wait to see whether it gains or loses ground in the tablet market, as its new Nexus tablets take on offerings based on Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows 8/RT.  But ultimately, the biggest loser may be Apple, as OEMs like Samsung and ASUSTek will be offering up twice the competitive offerings with Windows 8/RT designs alongside Androids.

Samsung tablets
Samsung tablets dominated in Q3, tripling their anemic 2011 sales.

Ryan Reith, the IDC program manager who published the report, comments, "Samsung took advantage of an opportunity in the second quarter. The company offers a wide range of tablet offerings across multiple screen sizes and colors, and that clearly resonated with more buyers this quarter. Its growth to 18.4% of worldwide market share during the quarter represents the first time a competitor has attained this level of share since the original launch of the iPad.

"Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple.  With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose. However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500."

While Reith seems relatively pessimistic on Windows 8/RT tablets' pricing, another interesting emerging storyline is how tablets carrying Intel Corp. (INTC) chips (Windows 8) will fare versus tablets carrying the standard ARM Holdings plc. (LON:ARM) derived chips (Windows RT, Android, iOS).

Tablets with Intel chips thus far appear to be carrying a relatively hefty price premium ($200 USD or more), compared to their ARM counterparts, but will be substantially more powerful while offering similar battery life.

Source: IDC





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