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Android catching Apple in tablet computer race, new report reveals

Android catching Apple in tablet computer race, new report reveals

The share of the global tablet computer market accounted for by devices operating on Android systems increased notably in the third quarter of 2012, according to the latest figures on the subject. It is though hardware manufacturers like Samsung, Amazon, Asus and Lenovo were collectively able to take a considerable bite out of Apple’s dominant lead in the context of the tablet computer market during the three months to the end of September.

A report complied by the International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that Apple’s share of the global tablet market went from 65.5 percent in the second quarter of this year to just over 50 percent three months later. The biggest gains were reportedly made by Samsung, which has substantially increased the scope and number of its tablet computers in recent months and managed to sell in the region of 5.1 million such devices in the third quarter of this year. According to IDC, that figure represents a 115 percent increase on Q2 2012 and a massive 325 percent increase on Q3 2011.

“Samsung took advantage of an opportunity in the second quarter,” said Ryan Reith, program manager of IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “The company offers a wide range of tablet offerings across multiple screen sizes and colors, and that clearly resonated with more buyers this quarter.”

The apparent turnaround in sales performance for Android operated tablets did not end with Samsung however with Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDs, sized at both seven inches and 8.9 inches, having sold well in the third quarter despite only being available in the US during that period. The figures and IDC’s report though reflect the fact that Apple was strongly believed to be preparing to introduce a new version of its full-size iPad, as well as a smaller mini iPad in the final quarter of the year. So the fact that Apple’s lead in terms of overall sales of tablets worldwide does not necessarily reflect any dimming in the popularity of its slate computers.

Tom Mainelli, research director on tablets at IDC, said: “We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter.”

In recent days, Apple announced that it sold roughly three million of its new iPad minis and the latest version of its full-sized iPads within the first three days of their being made available in markets around the world including the UK. Indeed, the company’s chief executive Tim Cook suggested that supply of the devices was struggling to keep pace with global demand.

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