Samsung takes bite out of Apple tablet sales in Q4


Samsung takes bite out of Apple tablet sales in Q4

Microscope contributor

Competition is heating up in the tablet market but Apple's iPad remains the dominant force, accounting for nearly three of every four devices sold worldwide last quarter.

According to data from IDC, 10.1 million slates were shipped globally during the fourth quarter, compared to the 4.5 million units sold in the previous three month timeframe when Apple held 93% market share.

An incursion from Samsung's Galaxy Tab saw it grab a 17% share of Q4 sales as it beat other major vendors to market, and Apple represented the remainder.

Loren Laverde, vice-president of Consumer Device Trackers at IDC, said it expected "strong holiday sales" but pointed out that Apple left vendors in its wake as they "scrambled to offer competitive products".

Retailers sold the lion share of shipments followed by direct vendor sales and the telco channel, which represented 14% of the entire market.

Apple is taking orders from UK distributors for the next generation iPad from 11 March before most of its major PC rivals have even got product to market, and IDC predicted the US vendor will maintain 70% to 80% market share.

Competition is set to intensify in the second half of the year with other vendors and designs coming to market, the analyst said.

"Many of these products will be more competitive in function, like the Xoom, but we expect only those from large vendors with significant marketing and channel structure in addition to a few technologically and price competitive devices to capture significant market share," said IDC.

"One differentiation path that some vendors are likely to take is to focus on specific market segments, such as commercial. While benefiting from unique product positioning, they are likely to address a smaller overall market," it added.

In total, 18 million media tablets were sold in 2010 and for 2011 IDC forecasts that 50 million units will be shipped.

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