Cheap Kindle Fire absorbed some tablet marketshare ahead of new iPad launch

IDC just released its Q4 2011 report on tablet shipments and Apple continues to lead the market with 54.7-percent of global market share despite being down from 61.5-percent in the quarter before. Apple did increase shipments to 15.4 million units in Q4 (up from 11.1 million in Q3), but experienced an overall decrease in market share thanks to strong gains from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and other Android devices from competitors such as Samsung.

Kindle Fire is now the iPad’s biggest competitor with 16.8-percent of the tablet market due to 4.7 million units shipped during Q4, which is followed by Samsung with 5.8-percent of the market (up from 5.5-percent in Q3). IDC noted Apple’s results for the quarter represent “an increase of 110.5-percent from 4Q10.” The Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble came in fourth, but it fell slightly to 3.5-percent of the market (from 4.5-percent the quarter before). Pandigital took the No. 5 spot, but it is down from 2.9-percent to 2.5-percent market share.

As for iOS vs. Android, IDC is expecting Android to overtake iOS for global market share by 2015 and noted that Android now has 44.6-percent of the market as of Q4 2011. That resulted in a decrease for iOS, which fell from 61.6-percent to 54.7-during the quarter. As we noted before, IDC’s report accounts for tablet shipments and not actual sales. We know Apple typically sells as many new devices as it can make, and the same cannot be said for devices shipped by all Android vendors. Research Director at IDC’s Mobile Connected Devices Tom Mainelli talked about the report:

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