100 million tablets to ship in 2012: report

Tablets shipments continued their scorching growth, with the April-June quarter setting a new record: nearly 25 million, according to ABI Research. By year-end, 100 million are expected to ship, the bulk of them Apple's popular iPad.

For the quarter, shipments were up 36% compared to the previous period, and up 77% over the same quarter last year. Apple claimed almost 69% percent, more than two-thirds, of the units shipped. By comparison, Android tablets from Samsung were up, but only by 8%, and Asus' Android tablets were up just 4% for the quarter.

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RIM, which bet heavily on its PlayBook tablet, running a precursor to what will be its proprietary BlackBerry 10 firmware, suffered a 1% drop in shipments. Dell and LG stopped shipments entirely, as their "companies retrench for future tablet offerings," at least some of which will make use of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Apple remains by far the most successful tablet vendor. "Most impressive about Apple's 17 million tablet shipments in 2Q'2012 was [that] it nearly matched 2010 total worldwide shipments of 17.3 million for all vendors," says Jeff Orr, ABI's senior practice director for mobile devices, in a statement.

ABI noted that Apple has said that it shipped nearly 1 million of its iPad 2 devices, released in 2011, to U.S. education customers in the second quarter. Those shipments, according to ABI, contributed to the continuing decline in the iPad's average selling price: It dropped 4% compared to Q1 and 19% compared to the year-ago quarter.

Apple has been able to sustain average selling price of its iPhone line, something that rivals have not been able to. That's a key reason for Apple's repeatedly stellar revenues and profits. What would be more illuminating, perhaps, is to see the average selling price trend of the iPad 2 models still available and, separately, the new iPad announced earlier this year. The older model serves as Apple's low-priced entry into the tablet market, as it's done with the iPhone, rather than creating a different lower-cost and lower-priced product.

Samsung held onto its second-place share in Q2, according to ABI, followed by Amazon and Asus. New products, both for Google Android and Microsoft Windows 8 (and its ARM-processor-based Windows RT version) are expected starting this fall. Together, they promise to push shipments of 102 million-110 million worldwide this year, and even bigger numbers next year, according to ABI.

Wi-Fi is the preferred networking option. In Q2, less than 27% of new tablet shipments carried 3G or 4G modem, a drop of 12% compared to a year ago.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww Email: john_cox@nww.com Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed

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This story, "100 million tablets to ship in 2012: report" was originally published by Network World.

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