Android tablets battered Apple’s market share in the recently-finished Q3 quarter on the backs of strong sales from Samsung and Asus. Growing 325% and 243% respectively year over year, the companies shipped significantly more tablets to retailers than in Q3 2011, when sales were considered to be pretty dismal.
While Apple still holds a commanding 50.4% in worldwide tablet market share, its growth was not nearly as precipitous between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012, though it still shipped some 2.9 million tablets more than the year before. Indeed, the entire tablet market grew nearly 50% in the same time period, with prices dropping significantly across the board.
Asus finally found success with its Nexus 7 slate, which was recently revealed to be approaching sales of one million per month. Samsung launched a number of low-cost devices, including updated Galaxy Tab 2′s in both 7- and 10-inch varieties, while its Note 10.1 has found moderate success in some markets.
While the growth in the Android tablet market is indeed stunning, Apple’s relative slowdown comes after double-digit growth quarter after quarter. The company just refreshed its entire product line, including a faster Retina iPad and a smaller 7.9-inch iPad mini, so Q4 sales are likely to have sizeable upward momentum.
It’s also unknown how the new Windows 8 tablet ecosystem will affect the ecosystem. Microsoft recently released its first consumer tablet, the Surface RT, to serious buzz but mediocre reviews. Whether it, and its partner vendors including Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Asus and, indeed, Samsung, can turn the new operating system into a competitor to the iPad remains to be seen.