Tablets had a strong first quarter, shipping 40.6 million units, according to Strategy Analytics.
That’s a 23% drop compared to the prior quarter, but it’s an 143% increase over the same quarter in 2012.
The sequential drop shouldn’t come as a surprise because the holiday quarter is historically the tablet market’s strongest, so sales naturally dip in the first quarter.
The important thing, however, is that the dip is becoming less pronounced. Last year the decline between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 was 41%. This year, it was nearly half that.
Furthermore, there is reason to believe that there is a substantial grey market for tablets in China that is flying under the radar of data research firms.
In terms of tablet platforms, Apple’s iOS once again leads the tablet market, accounting for a 48% share of tablet shipments in the first quarter. That’s a slight improvement over the fourth quarter, when it stumbled to a 44% share.
Google’s Android was second, with a 43% share, according to Strategy Analytics.
Note, however, that Strategy Analytics places tablets like the Kindle Fire into the Android category, even though it doesn’t really make sense to categorize them as such. Kindle tablets run on software that is a “fork” of the Android operating system, and they don’t come pre-installed with Google’s services and software.
Microsoft shipped 3 million tablets, up from 1 million a quarter prior, for a 7 per cent share. Microsoft tablets may be showing signs of life, but the company’s two-in-one Windows 8 interface — designed to work seamlessly across tablets and PCs — is not a rousing success just yet.
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