The latest figures from research firm IDC are in for the tablet market showing Q3 2011 shipment data.
And there’s good news for Apple, with the iPad continuing to sell strongly and retain its market dominance.
The iPad shipped some 11.1 million units in the third quarter of this year, which was up from 9.3 million units the previous year.
However, Apple’s market share did fall slightly from 63.3% last quarter to 61.5% this quarter, but it still has nearly a two-thirds stranglehold on all things tablet.
Samsung captured 5.6% of the market with its Galaxy Tab range, and was followed in third place by HP’s TouchPad, which blazed briefly with a fire sale that saw it grab a 5% market share (and then disappear).
Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color secured fourth place with a 4.5% market share, shifting some 800,000 units.
Overall tablet shipments were 18.1 million units, which was up 265% on the same quarter in 2010, but a touch below IDC’s estimates nonetheless.
However, IDC expects the market to pick up and be even stronger in the fourth quarter of this year, particularly with the emergence of Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
The Fire’s release is expected to be the primary driver to push Android devices up from their current market share of 32.4% to beyond the 40% mark.
That means IDC sees the iPad’s market share dropping below 60% (to 59% in fact) for the first time ever in Q4 2011.
Since launch, the Kindle Fire has been predicted to jump straight into second place ahead of the Galaxy Tab to become the iPad’s main rival.
Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Mobile Connected Devices, commented: “Amazon and Barnes & Noble are shaking up the media tablet market, and their success helps prove that there is an appetite for media tablets beyond Apple’s iPad.”
“That said, I fully expect Apple to have its best-ever quarter in 4Q11, and in 2012 I think we’ll see Apple’s product begin to gain more traction outside of the consumer market, specifically with enterprise and education markets.”
And of course the iPad 3 is allegedly set to emerge in the spring of 2012, which will shake things up yet again, particularly if Apple manages to pull off the rumoured super-resolution display.
Although how much that’ll push the price up is the real question, perhaps.