Apple remains the dominant player in the tablet market but its share of shipments fell steeply in the third quarter as sales of Android-based tablets surged, according to new data from IDC. The iPad’s share of the worldwide tablet market slipped to 50.4% from 65.5% in the second quarter, with rivals such as Samsung and Amazon making inroads with Android-powered alternatives like the Galaxy Tab and Kindle Fire HD.
IDC pointed out that Apple also suffered slower demand in the third quarter as consumers awaited news about the rollout of the iPad mini, which launched last Friday, along with a fourth-generation iPad. That helped Samsung boost its share to 18.4% in the quarter, Amazon, 9%, Asus, 8.6%, and Lenovo, 1.4%.
The overall tablet market grew 49.5% from a year ago, and 6.7% from the second quarter, with a total of 27.8 million units shipped in Q3. With the new iPad and iPad mini now available, IDC expects Apple to have a stronger showing in the fourth quarter. The company today announced the new models sold a total of 3 million units in their first weekend.
But there’s also added competition with the recent release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. Still, IDC notes Microsoft will have a hard time gaining share with prices starting at $500.