Sales of tablet PCs rose nearly 50 percent in the third quarter of 2012 from a year earlier to 27.8 million units, according to data released by International Data Corporation. The sequential growth in sales of these devices was 6.7 percent.
Predictably, the sales growth was led by Android devices, running on Samsung and Amazon.com, Inc.(NASDAQ:AMZN) handsets. Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) devices actually saw a dip in market share during the quarter, the data showed.
Apple saw its share skipping to 50.4 percent in the third quarter compared to the 65.5 percent it had at the end of the second quarter this year.
"After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumours 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. 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 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter."
However, during the third quarter, it was Apple's bitter rival Samsung which gained at Apple's expense.
Driven by its Galaxy Tab and Note 10.1., the Korean handset maker shipped 5.1 million tablets worldwide in the third quarter, more than double from the second quarter. That's an incredible four-fold increase from the third quarter of the previous year, when it had shipped 1.2 million tablets.
Amazon, which did not have a tablet in its portfolio last year, took a 9 percent market share in the third quarter with shipments of 2.5 million units. ASUS, which has tied up with Google Inc(NASDAQ:GOOG), saw its share rise to 8.6 percent from 3.8 percent, while Lenovo saw a marginal rise in its share.