After a brief uptick over the Christmas period, the proportion of tablet devices shipped with the Android operating system fell back in the first quarter of the year, IDC has found.
In the last quarter of 2011, 12.8 million Android-based tablets were shipped, representing 45% of the market. But in the first quarter of this year, just 5.4 million Android tablet were shipped – a 32% market share.
Meanwhile, Apple’s share of the market grew from 55% over Christmas to 68%, or 11.8 million iPads, in the first quarter of this year.
Tom Mainelli, research director at IDC, said Apple had "reasserted its dominance" in Q1. "All but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting big gains during the holiday buying season," Mainelli said.
Onle retailer Amazon.com, for instance, shipped 4.8 million of its Android ‘Kindle Fire’ tablets in the fourth quarter of 2011, making up 16.8% of the market and placing the company second in the market. That number dropped to about 700,000 units in this quarter, according to IDC, just 4% of the market.
IDC said that although Android tablet shipments had fallen more sharply than iPads in the new year, the company expects Android tablets to rebound as new products are launched.
"We expect a new, larger-screened device from Amazon at a typically aggressive price point, and Google will enter the market with an inexpensive, co-branded ASUS tablet designed to compete directly on price with Amazon’s Kindle Fire," Mainelli said. "The search giant’s new tablet will run a pure version of Android, whereas the Fire runs Amazon’s own forked version of the OS that cuts Google out of the picture."
O’Donnell said that Apple would remain at the top of the marketplace, but that Windows 8 and Windows RT-based tablets arrival in the fourth quarter of 2012 would intensify the competition for the next several positions.