Android tablet devices have taken a bite out of Apple’s dominance of the market, with a surge in sales.

Tablets have become phenomenally popular and worldwide shipments totalled 27.8 million units in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The tablet market grew 49.5% year over year in 3Q12 and 6.7% over the second quarter of 2012.

During this period sales of devices using the Android operating system rocketed, led by Samsung and Amazon.

Apple’s sales, however, while still enormous, slid considerably, with market share falling from 65.5% in 2Q12 to 50.4% in 3Q12.

“After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumors of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC.

“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.

samsung

The Apple-challenging Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

“Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini’s relatively high $329 (£200) starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter.”

Ryan Reith, program manager, IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, added: “Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple.

“With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose. However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500 (£310).”

Simon Stanford, Vice President, Telecommunications and Networks, Samsung UK and Ireland, told Huffington Post UK that he has every confidence that Android tablets will see even stronger growth in the future.

He said: “With Android starting the year as the fastest growing OS in the market, we expected 2012 to be the watershed moment for the industry in terms of the competition between the various operating systems.

“I have no doubt that Android tablets will do exactly what Android devices have done in the smartphone category and really lead the way in the future. The Samsung Galaxy S III has ensured Samsung is the world’s top smartphone seller in the last three quarters, and we are looking to emulate that with our Android tablet devices.

“Having a unified operating system across many devices means we can offer a seamless connected experience for people whether they are using the devices for business or pleasure.”

Chart: Worldwide Tablet Vendors Market Share, 2012Q3
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