The Great Tablet Race: IDC's Top 5 Tablet Brands For Q3

Top Of The Line Tablets

The verdict is in for third-quarter tablet shipment numbers: Shipments are increasing and the brand gap is shrinking. According to IDC Worldwide Tablet Tracker, 47.6 million tablets were shipped in the third quarter, a 36.7 percent year-over-year growth. While the lack of a new iPad launch in both the second and third quarter slowed Apple sales, a variety of Android products rose in popularity. Over 35 percent of total tablet sales fall into the "other" brand category. Following is a breakdown of the top-five tablet brands according to IDC.

No. 5 Acer

Acer shipped 1.2 million tablets in the third quarter for a 346.3 percent growth, compared to 300,000 tablets in the third quarter of 2012, according to IDC. The Taiwanese hardware company currently offers two tablet series operating on Android: the Iconia A, which comes in 7.9- and 10.1-inch versions, as well as the Iconia B, a 7-inch e-reader. Both series fall into the "low-cost Android tablet", category. According to IDC, it is the lower-priced Android tablets that are responsible for a large chunk of worldwide tablet shipments. Additionally, Acer's Iconia W series offers a range of Windows 8 products, including tablets with docking keyboards. Acer accounted for 2.5 percent of total tablet market share.

No. 4 Lenovo

Ashton Kutcher did not unveil Lenovo's new Yoga Tablet before the end of the third quarter, but the Lenovo Miix 10 operating on Windows 8 did receive a third-quarter debut. The company, which has extensive tablet offerings in both the Android and Windows arenas, recently attributed its high earnings to a rise in tablet and smartphone shipments. Holding 4.8 percent of the worldwide tablet market share in the third quarter, Lenovo increased from 400,000 to 2.3 million tablets sold in one year, a 420.7 percent increase.

No. 3 ASUS

Accounting for 7.4 percent of the tablet market share at the end of the third quarter, Asus shipped 3.5 million tablets, a 123 percent increase over the previous year. Asus' VivoTab line runs on both Windows 8 and Windows RT, whereas its Transformer Pad and MeMo Pad lines run a version of Android. Additionally, Asus manufactures Google's Nexus 7. The new Asus released its Transformer Pad TF701T during the third quarter with a 10.1-inch screen and Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor.

No. 2 Samsung

Samsung has taken a piece of Apple's pie by more than doubling its tablet sales year-over-year, increasing from 12.4 percent of the market share last year to 20.4 percent at the end of the third quarter this year. The second most relevant brand across the globe, Samsung increased tablet shipments from 4.3 million devices in the third quarter of 2012 to 9.7 million devices in the third quarter of 2013. The company's Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note series, offered in a wide variety of sizes and targeted at several specific verticals, all support a version of the Android operating system. According to IDC, much of Samsung's tablet shipments happen in conjunction with other Samsung products including smartphones and televisions.

No. 1 Apple

With the release of the first iPad, Apple became the inventor of the tablet. At the conclusion of third quarter, Apple remains at the top of the tablet game, holding 29.6 percent of the total market share, a drop from 40.2 percent during the same quarter of the previous year. The company shipped 14 million devices during the third quarter of 2012 and increased to only 14.1 million devices during the third quarter of 2013. Apple's brand new iPad Mini with retina and the iPad Air were both unveiled after the start of the fourth quarter -- just in time for the holidays. In its report, IDC said it "expects Apple to enjoy robust shipment growth during the fourth quarter."