Global tablet shipments for Q1 show Microsoft lurking just behind usual suspects

Global tablet shipments for Q1 show Microsoft lurking just behind usual suspectsThe tablet market is growing. No surprise there, I hear you say, but IDC has stuck some numbers on to that patently obvious fact to give us an idea of how fast it's growing and who's benefiting the most from it.

The top 4 tablet makers from IDC's Q1 stats come as no surprise: Apple, Samsung, Asus and Amazon, but look who's at number 5... that's right, it's Microsoft.

Overall, tablet shipments in Q1 hit 49.2m units, up 142.4% (nearly two and a half times as much, in other words) over Q1 2012's figures of 20.3m.

The iPad mini's introduction no doubt accounts for much of Apple's increase from 11.8m units a year ago to 19.5m in Q1 of this year, and similarly the Google Nexus 10 has no doubt helped Samsung jump from 2.3m to 8.8m.

In terms of percentage, though, Apple's share has dropped from 58.1% to 39.6%, but Apple fans can rest easy – the overall numbers are far more indicative of a healthy, competitive market that a year ago, and besides that 39.6% is still more than double what anyone else got.

The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD account for Asus' and Amazon's presence in 3rd and 4th. And so on to Microsoft, which IDC says shipped 900,000 Surface Pro and Surface RT tablets over the quarter.

That's good enough for fifth spot overall with 1.8%, but we can't imagine it's by very much given the “Others” category amounts to a full 31.5% of the total, or 15.5m units.

It's also worth noting that all these figures are for units shipped, and that's always likely to favour the minority players more than the best sellers since retailers and online vendors have to have stock on hand of the most unpopular of devices to cater for possible orders, even if the chances of them actually selling are far lower than the iPads of this world.

Still, Microsoft will no doubt take some heart from the figures, and will look forward to a steady increase when Q2's numbers come out after finally making the Surface Pro available globally last month.

Read more about: AndroidiOSWindows 8Apple iPad miniMicrosoft Surface ProMicrosoft Surface RT

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4 comments

Stelph  May. 2, 2013 at 13:25

Good effort by Microsfot in that case, I wonder what proportion of tablets are the RT and the Pro?

I have to admit im surprised that the OEM's for Windows 8 seem to be struggling so much, I know the Pro is popular but I would have thought the transformer style tablets that Asus and Acer and Dell are providing (i.e. a keyboard dock that makes it work like a laptop) are the best design by a mile and would be the most popular, apparently not!

barrybarryk  May. 2, 2013 at 13:43

RT isn't shifting, at least it's not showing any real impact on web traffic. It's mostly the pros selling.

I like the transformer style form factor too but the real problem is Android with a keyboard is still just Android with a keyboard. It's nowhere near as functional or flexible as a laptop, all they're really good for is typing in URLs because virtually every 'app' is a castrated port or clone of a desktop client or website for actual PCs

Stelph  May. 2, 2013 at 16:14

RT isn't shifting, at least it's not showing any real impact on web traffic. It's mostly the pros selling.

I like the transformer style form factor too but the real problem is Android with a keyboard is still just Android with a keyboard. It's nowhere near as functional or flexible as a laptop, all they're really good for is typing in URLs because virtually every 'app' is a castrated port or clone of a desktop client or website for actual PCs


Ah, when I talked about the transformer style tablets I meant the Windows 8 ones, like the Acer w510, aside from the weaker processor they have better features than the Pro (like the keyboard being able to support the weight of the screen itself, extra battery life, touchpad) and is a lot cheaper but it hasnt done as well.

Perhaps people are still focusing on brands rather than devices?

barrybarryk  May. 2, 2013 at 21:51

Well I suppose at around the £500 mark it's in low/mid range laptop territory and you can get a lot more for your cash at that price if you can do without separating the tablet and the keyboard. But if I was going to spend money on a Windows tablet the very, very last thing I'd be skimping on is the core spec. It's easy to say the processor is a few notches down the ladder from the i3's and i5's of the world but that's a giant difference in real world performance. Personally I wouldn't use an atom for anything other than things like routers,nas boxes or media players. For an actual go to, hands on all the time device it just wont cut it no matter how cheap it is. It's an overpriced netbook in an interesting form factor

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