Global Tablet Shipments More than Double in First Quarter

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Tablet makers shipped 49.2 million tablet devices in the first quarter of 2013, led by rising demand for the smaller screen devices like the iPad mini from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). And speaking of Apple, the company continues to be the volume leader in shipments but by a sharply reduced margin. Tablet shipments totaled 20.3 million units in the first quarter of 2012.

In the first quarter of 2012, Apple claimed tablet market share of 58.1%, which has dropped to a 39.6% (19.5 million units) share in the first quarter of this year. Samsung, the number two vendor, shipped 8.8 million units for a 17.9% share, up from 11.3% in the year ago quarter.

The data comes from International Data Corp.’s (IDC) Quarterly Tablet Tracker.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) fell from third place to fourth, trailing Asus by about 900,000 units shipped. Amazon’s market share actually rose slightly, however, from 3.6% a year ago to 3.7% this year. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) broke into the top five hardware vendors with shipments of 900,000 units and market share of 1.8%.

On the operating system platform side, Android, the Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) platform is now the market share leader with 56.5% share, followed by iOS from Apple with 39.6% share, and Windows from Microsoft with a 3.3% share.

In early March, IDC forecast tablet shipments for the full year at 190 million units. At the current pace, even with no growth (very unlikely), that number is in the rearview mirror. At least 200 million units now looks like a minimum number of tablet shipments in 2013. And the demand for small-screen devices will continue to set the pace.

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