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By 28 November 2012 | Categories: news

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The latest research from market intelligence firm ABI Research shows that Apple’s share of the tablet market dropped by nearly 14% during Q3 2012 to its lowest level (55%) since launching the original iPad (review) in 2010.  

Despite this drop, the Cupertino-based tech outfit still managed to hang onto the lion’s share of the worldwide tablet market. After owning the tablet landscape for ten straight quarters, the iPad is finally facing decent competition from tablets operating on Google’s Android mobile operating system (OS).

Following Apple in terms of tablet shipment share is Korean tech giant Samsung with its Galaxy Note 10.1 (review) leading the charge; Kindle-maker Amazon; while Taiwanese manufacturer Asus also benefitted from Apple’s diminished market stake. In fact, Android powered more than 44% of all the tablets shipped during the last quarter.

“As the OS of choice for the majority of device OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), we expect the Android ecosystem to continue growing in numbers – new manufacturers, better device choices for reaching more markets, and more developers finding value from apps and content,” Orr explained.

Mini missed out on having a Maxi impact in the tablet market

Jeff Orr, senior practice director for ABI Research, stated that Apple’s introduction of a more compact and cheaper iPad mini acted as acknowledgement of both the viability of the 7" tablets class, as well as Android’s dominance of this segment.

Orr added that Cupertino missed out on a golden opportunity to get the upper hand in this tablet category ahead of the crucial holiday selling period. He believes that the iPad mini has failed to deliver a knockout blow to its 7" rivals including Google Nexus 7 tablet (review) due to its high-end pricing, limited availability and lack of innovation.  

ABI Research asserts that the iPad mini’s release resulted in demand for standard iPad models to shift down market to the benefit of rival tablet makers.

In other tablet related news, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently revealed that sales of its new Surface tablet are off to a “modest start.”

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