The iPad is once again the undisputed heavyweight champion of the tablet world. Apple’s “magical” tablet re-asserted its dominance of the market following a period that saw both the launch of the latest model and a drop-off in sales of its chief competitor, the Kindle Fire. As a result, the iPad now accounts for 68% of the tablet market, according to figures from a market-research company.
International Data Corporation (IDC) said worldwide tablet sales for the first quarter of 2012 numbered 17.4 million units. In its quarterly earnings call Apple said it had shipped 11.8 million iPads (both the current model and iPad 2), accounting for 67.8% of the market. That’s a big jump from the holidays, when 54.7% of all tablets sold were iPads.
The holiday season, of course, was when the Kindle Fire made its debut at the rock-bottom price of $200. The Fire instantly burned through market share, becoming the second-place tablet with 16.8% of the market. This past quarter, though, sales clearly weren’t as robust, and the Kindle Fire’s share fell to just 4%, in third place.
So who’s the new number two? That would be Samsung and its Galaxy Tabs, which recently launched the second generation of the tablet line. Rounding out the top five tablet manufacturers are Lenovo at No. 4, and Barnes & Noble in the fifth spot. The common denominator with tablet success is competitive pricing, IDC says.
“It seems some of the mainstream Android vendors are finally beginning to grasp a fact that Amazon, B&N, and Pandigital figured out early on,” Tom Manelli, IDC’s mobile research director, said in a press release. “Namely, to compete in the media tablet market with Apple, they must offer their products at notably lower price points.”
IDC says Google has gotten the message as well, and the search giant plans to release its own tablet, co-branded with Asus, at a price that will compete directly with the Kindle Fire. The tablet is expected to run a “pure” version of Android, IDC says.
How will Windows 8 tablets, when they arrive this fall, change the picture? IDC has no idea, but the tablets running Windows RT, based on ARM processors, will be the ones that take on the market, as opposed to mobile-computing devices like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga.
What do you think Apple’s renewed supremacy over the tablet market? Have your say in the comments.