Sat, Jul 26, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Competition catching up to tablet market leaders

SHIFTING RANKS:Lenovo and Asustek showed strong growth in tablet shipments in the previous quarter, while Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co slowed

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Lenovo Group Ltd’s (聯想) tablet computer shipments showed the strongest annual growth among the top five vendors in the second quarter, while smaller firms — including those known as “white-box” vendors — also saw their combined shipments reach an all-time high in the quarter, market researcher International Data Corp (IDC) said on Thursday.

IDC said Lenovo, the world’s largest PC brand, continued to gain market share in this line of business by shipping 2.4 million tablet devices in the April-to-June quarter, a rise of 64.7 percent year-on-year.

Last quarter, the Chinese company surpassed Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) to become the third-largest tablet vendor in the world, with a 4.9 percent market share, according to preliminary data compiled by IDC.

In the meantime, market leader Apple Inc reported a 9.3 percent annual decline in shipments to 13.3 million units last quarter with a 26.9-percent market share, and Samsung Electronics Co’s shipments grew by just 1.6 percent to 8.5 million units with a 17.2-percent share.

Asustek shipped 2.3 million units last quarter — up 13.1 percent — with a 4.6 percent share, while Acer Inc’s (宏碁) plummeted by 36.3 percent to 1 million units with a 2 percent share, IDC’s data showed.

Overall, the Massachusetts-based market researcher said global tablet shipments grew 11 percent annually in the second quarter, with shipments reaching 49.3 million units.

However, the figure declined 1.5 percent from the previous quarter as the tablet business was impacted by “the rise of large-screen smartphones and longer-than-anticipated ownership cycles,” IDC tablet research director Jean Philippe Bouchard said.

“We can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets,” he said.

However, Bouchard says he expects a stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of this year, taking note of the recently announced partnership between Apple and IBM Corp as a new driver to the enterprise-specific tablet business.

Meanwhile, the rise of many smaller and lesser-known vendors, particularly those making white-box tablets (those without a registered brand name) running Google Inc’s Android operating system, might play a supporting role in the market and indicate a solid footing of Android software.

Last quarter, smaller vendors shipped a total of 21.9 million tablets, representing an annual increase of 33.4 percent and a combined market share of 44.4 percent, according to IDC’s tallies.

“Until recently, Apple, and to a lesser extent Samsung, have been sitting at the top of the market, minimally impacted by the progress from competitors,” IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani said. “Now we are seeing growth amongst the smaller vendors and a leveling of shares across more vendors as the market enters a new phase.”

Peter King, director of tablet research at Boston-based research firm Strategy Analytics Inc, said his analysis showed that Android vendors shipped 36.8 million tablets last quarter, leading the market with a 70 percent share, compared with a 25 percent share secured by Apple iOS and a 5 percent share by Microsoft Corp’s Windows OS.

“Android consolidation continued as it was the chosen operating system for seven out of 10 tablets shipped in the market,” King said on Thursday.

Android is continuing to make steady progress due to the wide range of vendors and wide range of screen sizes and price-points."

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