To put this in perspective Q1 sales are typically slower after Christmas sales yet that number is more than the entire first half of 2012 shipments. There is amazing growth in this product category showing that it has become a must have, not a novelty, item.
Apple shipped 19.5 million, Samsung 8.8 million and the rest were Asus (2.7 million), Amazon (1.8 million) and Microsoft (Surface RT .9 million). The interesting thing is the “other category” – a cumulative 15.5 million from Windows tablet makers like Acer, Toshiba, Dell, HP and all the clone makers.
In an operating system sense a different story emerges. Android leads with 56.5%, iOS at 39.6%, Windows 8 Pro at 3.3% and Windows 8 RT at .4%.
What is clear is that if the trend continues Apple is losing ground pretty rapidly to Android and Windows 8 Pro is gaining ground at Apples expense.
I would not be surprised to see Windows 8 shipments hit double digits in Q2/3 given all the activity in that space in Q2. According to my retail and corporate sources Asus Vivo and Acer W5 are selling ‘incredibly well’ as BYOD devices (i.e. anyone that wants to use them at work) and HP’s ElitePad is off and running in the corporate only arena as its “system” is very impressive. But all Windows 8 tablets (or hybrids as they are beginning to be called – Intel Atom or i5/i7 CPU based tablets with a more sophisticated docking station/keyboard) are selling strongly too - there are some outstanding ones for this format from Dell, Asus Taichi and Sony.
What the figures don’t pick up is the form factor and there is much speculation that the tablet is moving to the mini-tablet format i.e. 7-8”. I think that is true in the Android space as they are used more and more as e-readers, personal videos and bedside companions but in the corporate space where more real estate space is needed for spreadsheets the 10.1” or a little larger screen is definitely the favoured size.
The consumer trend to smaller tablets is also driven by cost. Smaller tablets are not expected to do the same ‘work’ and can get away with 1GB ram, 8/16GB of storage etc. The best phrase I have seen is ‘semi-disposable’ – expect a 2 year life just like your phone.