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Tablets slowed by slumping Android shipments

TAIPEI -- A steep drop in shipments of Android-based models has caused the worldwide tablet computer market to miss projections in the first quarter of 2012, market advisory firm International Data Corp. (IDC) said recently.

Global tablet shipments reached 17.4 million units in the first three months of this year, up 120 percent from one year ago and down 38.4 percent from the fourth quarter of last year, IDC said.

The quarterly decline was slightly steeper than IDC's projection of a 34 percent drop, as the U.S.-based research firm originally predicted a sharp seasonal slowdown from the fourth quarter's record-breaking 28.2 million units.

Meanwhile, Apple Inc. reasserted its dominance in the tablet market this quarter, driving huge shipment totals at a time when all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting large gains during the holiday buying season.

“Apple's move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers, as well as educational and commercial buyers,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director for mobile connected devices.

“Its decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March seems to be paying off as well,” he noted.

According to IDC's report, Apple shipped 11.8 million iPads during the quarter, down from 15.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, and grew its worldwide share from 54.7 percent in fourth quarter to 68 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Amazon.com Inc., which stormed into the market in the fourth quarter of 2011 to grab second place with 16.8 market share on shipments of 4.8 million units, saw its share decline significantly in the first quarter to just over 4 percent, as a result falling to third place.

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