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Tablet Civil Wars?
Monday, 20th February 2012
Nancy Davis Kho
The tablet market continues to flourish with competition fierce among rival companies. The exception is Apple where loyal customers are choosing the new iPhone over the old iPad. However, all may change with the iPad3 out soon.
A new report this week from IHS iSuppli group found that overall sales of tablet computers were up to 65.2 million units, beating its estimates of 64.7 million units. And while competition in the tablet market rages between Amazon, Apple, Samsung, B&N, Asus and other manufacturers, the biggest competition during Q4 for Apple was … Apple?
Turns out the iPhone 4S Smartphone, released in October 2011, made a dent in shipments of the iPad as Apple fans zealous for the newest and shiniest spent their money on a new model phone rather than an old model tablet. Interesting in this, of course, is the convergence of Smartphone capabilities and tablet capabilities, to the point that buying a mobile phone is considered an acceptable tradeoff to buying a more fully featured tablet device.
Bites from the Apple (sorry, but it was so obvious) were also taken by Amazon with the release of the Kindle Fire. Amazon shipped 3.9 million of its new reader-on-steroids device during the quarter, enough to grab 14% of overall tablet sales (from zero per cent during Q3) and help reduce Apple's share from 64% to 57% of the overall market. Continued growth will hinge on Amazon's ability to push content through its device, and the company knows it. Witness Amazon's moves in 2011 to open up ebook sales operations in Spain and Italy last year, and its continued march on the Brazilian market.
Meanwhile the IHS report painted a positive picture for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which now holds almost 10% of the tablet market, up 16% from the previous quarter. The Barnes and Noble Nook sales climbed to 156% of Q3 2011 sales, but overall it holds a relatively small market share, only five per cent. Is it ripe for the plucking by Google or another firm looking to enter the tablet market in a big way?
The mixed news for Apple is that the next tablet sales report may provide a flip-flopped view; with an iPad 3 due for release in Q2 2012, it may be Apple iPhone sales that suffer. Must make for interesting conversation around the company conference table.
By Nancy Davis Kho
With more than a decade of experience in the product management and business development side of online content, Nancy Davis Kho now writes about the rapidly changing environment of digital content and its implications for business.
Nancy is a frequent contributor to EContent Magazine, Streaming Media, Enterprise Search Sourcebook, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her website is at www.daviskho.com.
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