Apple has led the way in the tablet revolution, according to research from IDC. The analyst firm claimed nearly 18 million tablets were shipped throughout 2010 and Apple’s flagship iPad device accounted for 83 per cent.
It wasn’t all good news for the company, however, as when the numbers were broken down by quarters, it showed Apple’s market share had dropped significantly.
In the third quarter of 2010, the iPad made up 93 per cent of shipments but by the end of the fourth quarter this figure had fallen to 73 per cent.
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab became its biggest rival, with a market share of 17 per cent for the high selling Christmas period, but other smaller competitors also ate away at the Cupertino company’s lead.
"Strong holiday sales of media tablets were in line with IDC projections and strong consumer interest in the category while device vendors scrambled to offer products competitive with Apple's iPad and now iPad 2," said Loren Loverde, vice president of consumer device trackers at IDC.
The market as a whole was looking very healthy though, with shipments of 4.5 million in the third quarter of 2010 more than doubling to 10.1 million in the following three months.
By region, the US still led the way in shipments, but Western Europe was swiftly catching up, growing almost twice as fast in the final quarter of 2010, according to IDC.
But if tablet manufacturers thought these quantities were impressive, 2011 is set to put an even bigger smile on their faces.
Loverde predicted 50 million units would be shipped during the next year, although other competitors would edge their way into the market, he claimed Apple was still likely to hold onto between 70 and 80 per cent market share.
This article originally appeared at itpro.co.uk