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According to the latest preliminary market share numbers from IDC, Apple increased 48 percent and sold almost 23 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2012. The problem is that Samsung doubled its year-ago numbers with a mix of Android and Windows tablets, while Asus, and likely the Nexus 7, saw over a 4x increase over the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s iPad once again led the market, and the firm’s shipment total of 22.9 million units was exactly in line with IDC’s forecast for the period. A strong iPad mini launch, plus availability of the fourth generation full-sized iPad, led to solid 48.1% shipment growth over the same quarter last year. However, strong competition in the market led to Apple’s market share declining for a second quarter in a row (down to 43.6% from 46.4% last quarter). Number two vendor Samsung experienced 263% year-on-year growth, shipping nearly 8 million combined Android and Windows 8 tablets during the quarter to grab 15.1% of the market, its same market share total from the previous quarter.

There is a lot I don’t like about this study. For one, the report says,”Barnes & Noble both saw their market share increase sharply as new products gained traction during the holiday season.” But, the table shows Barnes and Noble down YOY. IDC also gave tablet vendors with under 1-million sold (beneath B&N) an 11.6 million tablet sales count. That’s a lot of no-name brands that probably shouldn’t have been counted. Also, Amazon never publishes numbers, so IDC is guessing like everyone else.

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