Kindle Fire fizzles out in first quarter of 2012 as Apple stays hottest seller
The global tablet market has grown almost 200% year on year based on first quarter 2012 figures, although sales have dipped by one third from the previous quarter, new research shows.
The media tablet market shipped 18.2 million devices in the first quarter of 2012, representing a 185% year on year gain and a loss in sequential shipments of 33%, a study from ABI Research shows.
Apple's 11.8 million iPad shipments were spurred on by the launch of a third generation line up and price reduction on iPad 2 models, while Samsung's 1.1 million shipments returned the vendor to the number two spot after Amazon's Kindle Fire shipments fizzled entering 2012.
'A pattern similar to smartphones is also occurring in tablets,' said Jeff Orr, group director, consumer research at ABI Research. 'Apple and Samsung have demonstrated staying power while other tablet vendors ebb and flow like the tide.'
Only two leading branded tablet OEMs – RIM (233%) and Lenovo (107%) – bucked the downward first quarter shipment trends, while Taiwan's ASUS remained flat sequentially from the fourth quarter 2011. Several vendors, including Dell, HP, and LG are currently retooling tablet portfolios for mid-year launches of Android 4.0 along with the much anticipated Windows 8 slates debuting later in 2012.
Apple continued to lead the market with nearly 65% of worldwide units and surpassed 67 million cumulative shipments in its first eight quarters of availability. iPad cannot claim the highest mobile broadband (3G/4G) attach rate for media tablets, the research claimed, although Apple retains its title of shipping the most 3G-enabled tablets by outpacing the number two competitor by a factor of eight.
'The majority of iPad buyers continue to be satisfied with Wi-Fi wireless coverage,' added Orr. The leading model shipments and the ongoing challenges mobile operators face in convincing iPad owners to even try the mobile broadband connectivity once are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, he noted.