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IDC: Apple’s iPad spoiled the Kindle Fire party, Android tablet sales down significantly

May 5, 2012

Research firm IDC has released the latest tablet shipment numbers for the first quarter of 2012, and it’s not what the Android crowd has been waiting to hear. According to IDC, worldwide tablet shipments dropped by 38% compared to the previous quarter, with Amazon’s Kindle Fire suffering the steepest drop and Apple’s iPad reasserting its dominance.

Out of the 17.4 million units of tablets that were shipped in Q1 2012, 68% came from Apple’s camp, which means Apple has shipped 11.8 million iPads in the January – March period. The Kindle Fire, meanwhile, saw its share plummet from 16.8% to just 4%. Taking over Kindle Fire is Samsung’s horde of tablets, as the Korean company leaped to second place, followed by Lenovo at number four, and Barnes & Noble on the fifth place.

IDC research director Tom Mainelli said that the huge drop experienced by the Kindle Fire is due to people hesitating to buy a tablet, now that the holiday season has come and gone. Apple, on the other hand, was lauded for its strategic move of lowering the iPad 2’s price after the launch of the new iPad in March. With Android-based tablets losing their mojo, a particularly strong sales performance in Q1 2012 helped Apple offset the financial losses.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Android tablets, though. IDC predicts that the numbers will quickly rebound in the second quarter, with many companies introducing their latest Android tablets at lowered price points. It’s a trend that IDC believes was jumpstarted by the likes of Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Mainelli said that IDC expects Amazon to release “a new, larger-screened device at a typically aggressive price point,” and that “Google will enter the market with an inexpensive, co-branded ASUS tablet designed to compete directly on price with Amazon’s Kindle Fire.”

Though worldwide tablet shipments fell in Q1 2012, let’s not jump yet to the conclusion that the tablet’s popularity among consumers is waning. Worldwide tablet shipments still grew at a respectable 120% year-over-year rate.

What’s your take on this report?