Apple's tablet marketshare shrinks only slightly during Q4

According to research firm IDC, Apple's worldwide dominance of the tablet market has started to shrink, but only by about 2%.

IDC reports that Apple's share of the market went from 63.3% last quarter down to 61.5%. However, that is still 11x more than it's closest competitor, Samsung, who came in with 5.6%. What is effecting their share? Two things. First, IDC has adjusted their math to now include devices like the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Amazon Kindle Fire. Second, HP entered the market (and left) all during the second half of the year, flooding the market with cheap TouchPads when they kicked off their fire sale.

In terms of operating systems, Android enjoys a healthy 32.4% share, and IDC expects that figure to grow to nearly 40% over the next quarter, spurred on mostly by the Kindle Fire which is selling about one million units per week. Unsurprisingly, IDC does not expect the recent announcement that HP would be open sourcing their webOS platform to effect any of the other serious contenders. HP's surge over the last quarter will be short lived.

RIM, with the tepid response they've received from the PlayBook, currently holds less than 1% of the market.

Windows 8 is slated to include many tablet based features including support for the low-power ARM processor platform. It will be interesting to watch as Microsoft utilizes their OEM channels to take on Apple and Android in what is clearly a field dominated by the two and without any other serious competition.

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