Android Tablets Gain Ground On Apple iPad In 1Q

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While PC sales continue to plummet, tablet sales continue to surge, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.

In the first quarter of 2013, 40.6 million tablets were shipped globally, a remarkable 117 percent increase compared to the year-ago quarter. This compared to PC sales, which fell by a double-digit percentage in the same quarter.

Demand for branded tablets was strong across consumer, commercial and education users and was led by Apple's iPad, according to Strategy Analytics.

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Apple shipped 19.5 million iPads in the quarter, earning 48.2 percent market share. Tablets running Google's Android OS saw 17.6 million units shipped, compared to 3 million tablets running Microsoft's Windows 8 and 400,000 units running all other platforms combined.

In addition, Android garnered 43.4 percent tablet market share and took a big chunk out of Apple's dominance in the market. Tablets running Microsoft's Windows 8 OS earned 7.4 percent share of all tablets shipped in the quarter.

Debi Bush, CEO of CMIT Solutions of Denver, said Android tablets are attractive to consumers because they have lower price points than iPad and Windows 8 tablets that feature more functionality.

"That's always been a point between the iPad and Windows tablets: Do you want consumer stuff or a fully integrated machine in the shape of a tablet," Bush said.

Overall, tablets are eating away at some PC share too, according to Bush.

"We have a client who looked at laptops, and we were ready to fit them. ... Then they asked about the iPad, so we brought in iPad along with the Samsung Slate with Windows and an i5 processor. They liked it so much, they got the Slates instead of the laptops," Bush said.

Jeff Davis, senior vice president of sales at D&H Distributing, said unit sales of Android tablets are particularly hot at the 7-inch level, while Windows 8 tablets are strong for the Harrisburg, Pa.-based distributor in the 10-inch space.

"Looking at the units, there's more in the 7-inch space [for Android], but Microsoft is bringing the Windows 8 experience down to 8 inches and below so that should help it improve dramatically too," Davis said.

Meanwhile, Davis agreed that consumers are driving Android tablets and tablets overall, but commercial opportunities are beginning to increase too.

"For a long time, you had to go Android or Apple [in the commercial space]. We're seeing Windows 8 cut into that, and the 10-inch Android is penetrating that space too. I wouldn't have said that a year ago," Davis said.

Overall, iPad shipments increased 65 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Android tablet shipments increased 177 percent, and Windows 8 tablets were not available in the year-ago quarter. Tablets running all other OSes saw shipments fall from about 500,000 to about 400,000.

While the number of tablets shipped more than doubled in the first quarter, its growth has slowed as the tablet install base continues to mature. In the first quarter of 2012, tablet shipments had increased 146 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011.

PUBLISHED 26, 2013

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