The market research firm said that Q4 2012 was a record one for the tablet market, with a total of 52.5 million units shipped globally. Apple previously announced that 22.9 million iPads had been sold, placing it in first place, yet again. However, it's market share slipped from 51.7 percent to 43.6 percent, year-over-year.
Meanwhile, Samsung slotted into second place, at 15.1 percent. Amazon.com was in third at 11.5 percent. Even a combination of the two OEMs' numbers doesn't match Apple's iPad, but when it comes to Android, it's always been the sheer number and variety of devices that overwhelmed the iPhone. The fact that Apple's iPad has dropped below 50 percent tablet market share since last year is the most significant portion of the news (according to IDC, the iPad first dropped below 50 percent in its Q3 2012 rankings).
Still impressive, despite trailing iPad badly, is that Samsung's tablet figures rose 263 percent from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012. Notably, Samsung is also shipping Windows 8 tablets to go along with Android. Meanwhile, Amazon.com's tablet shipments -- all Android -- rose 26.8 year-over-year, not as stratospheric but still impressive.
Asus was fourth with 5.8 percent, vs. last year's 2.0 percent, a rise of 402.5 percent, much of that coming from the Nexus 7 tablet it partnered on with Google. In the fifth position was Barnes and Noble, which shipped nearly a million Nook tablets, although its shipments and market share both fell from Q4 2011.
What about the Microsoft Surface RT tablet? The ARM-based version of Microsoft's tablet hit the market in October. However, the company failed to make it to the top five of IDC's rankings as it shipped just under 900,000 tablets.