Android has Majority of Tablet Market for the First Time

Apple is no longer the largest tablet platform, according to Q1 estimates from research firm Canalys.

The company dropped below 50 per cent share in Q4 2012 and was overtaken by Android for the first time in Q1 2013, with Googles OS holding 48 per cent and Apple now on 46 per cent. Windows gained 5 per cent while BlackBerry holds just 1 per cent share.

Apple is still the largest tablet manufacturer, however, with Android leader Samsung on 21 per cent, followed by Google and Amazon on 5 per cent. Others make up the remaining 24 per cent.

“The increase in Android tablet shipments has been driven by aggressive pricing from Google, Amazon and Samsung,” said Pete Cunningham, Canalys principal analyst. “We expect this trend to continue as more top tier vendors including Acer, HP and Lenovo have started to bring low cost 7 inch tablets to market. Despite Apple losing ground to these vendors the strength of its brand and ecosystem ensures that it is still able to charge a premium and own the higher price points, other vendors are having to accept slim margins to compete.”

Apple growth slowing

Smartphone shipments came in at just over 216.3m,  growing 47.9 per cent during this quarter. Android accounted for 75.6 per cent of all smartphone shipments during Q1, a  9 per cent increase on the previous quarter. Samsung is the lead manufacturer with 32 per cent market share.

In contrast, Apple saw modest annual growth of 6.7 per cent in smartphone shipments – the lowest level since the launch of the original iPhone  in 2007. “Despite its slowing growth, Apple still shipped over 37m iPhones,’ Cunningham said.

But, he cautioned: “The iPhone user interface is now six years old and badly in need of a refresh. It cannot afford to ignore the trend for larger displays in premium smart phones. We expect an increase on the iPhone 5’s 4″ display but are not anticipating a “Phablet”-style iPhone.” Huawei, LG and ZTE completed the top five smart phone vendors, all with less than 5 per cent market share each.

While tablet sales grew by 106 per cent year-on-year, notebook PC shipments fell by 13.1 per cent. The biggest decline was in Western Europe, where shipments fell by 25.2 per cent during the year.