100 million tablets to ship in 2012: report

Shipments were up 36 per cent for the quarter when compared to the previous period, and up 77 per cent over the same quarter last year.

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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