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Apple iPad's share of tablet market slips as demand grows, IDC says

December 05, 2012|By Chris O'Brien
  • Sales of the iPad Mini are helping to expand the market for tablets, but Android tablets are gaining momentum.
Sales of the iPad Mini are helping to expand the market for tablets, but Android… (Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg )

First, the good news for Apple: The tablet market continues to surpass all projections as the iPad and iPad Mini are exciting consumers. That's according to IDC, which on Wednesday released its latest projections for tablet shipments this year Wednesday. 

The research firm raised its 2012 forecast for the worldwide tablet market from 117.1 million units to 122.3 million units.

"Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower price points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond," Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC, said in a news release.

Now the not-so-good news for Apple: Android-based tablets continue to gain momentum. IDC projected that market share for Android tablets would rise from 39.8% in 2011 to 42.7% in 2012. Apple is expected to see its market share for tablets decline, from 56.3% to 53.8%

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The reason Android seems to be gaining traction: price.

"The breadth and depth of Android has taken full effect on the tablet market as it has for the smartphone space," said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers. "Android tablet shipments will certainly act as the catalyst for growth in the low-cost segment in emerging markets given the platform's low barrier to entry on manufacturing."

Oh, and those Windows tablets? Just a blip for now, but keep watching. IDC expects Windows tablets to go from 2.9% in 2012 to 10.2% of the market in 2016. Whether that's enough to establish Microsoft as a credible player in this market remains to be seen. 

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Follow me on Twitter @obrien. 

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