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iPad tops tablets, Samsung 2nd

05 June 2012, 13:20

Washington - The Apple iPad extended its lead in the global market for tablet computers at the start of 2012 while Amazon's Kindle Fire flamed out after a sizzling introduction, a survey showed.

The ABI Research survey showed overall global sales of media tablets amounted to 18.2 million in the first three months of the year, up 185% from a year earlier, but down 33% from the fourth quarter gift-giving season.

Apple held 65% of the market with 11.8 million iPad shipments, boosted by the launch of a third-generation model and price reductions on the iPad 2, the report said.

Samsung grabbed the number two spot with 1.1 million shipments, or 6% of the market, overtaking Amazon, which saw an 80% quarter-over-quarter drop in sales of the Kindle Fire, according to ABI.

ABI did not release specific numbers for Kindle Fire, noting that Amazon publishes no sales data for the device, but the survey coincided with other reports showing the Kindle losing steam.

Wi-Fi coverage

ABI analyst Jeff Orr said Amazon did a good job of marketing the Kindle Fire in 2011 during the holiday season but did not get a sustained lift.

The Kindle "looked like something with capabilities of the iPad at lower price points", he said.

"But it hasn't translated into anything that will reverse the normal cyclical behaviour of the market," Orr said. "It will be interesting to see what happens in this quarter."

Orr said Apple and Samsung "have demonstrated staying power while other tablet vendors ebb and flow like the tide".

Among the other tablet makers, Research In Motion showed a 233% leap and Lenovo a 107% gain from the past quarter, helped by the product launches.

Other vendors including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and LG are currently retooling tablet portfolios for mid-year launches, using the latest version of Google's Android operating system or the Windows 8 platform.

The report also said that for iPad buyers, the majority are satisfied with Wi-Fi coverage, with only a small number opting to pay more for wireless broadband access.



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