Android tablets lose ground to RIM, TouchPads

Android tablets are losing ground to new entrants, including the much-criticised Research In Motion PlayBook and even the discontinued Hewlett-Packard TouchPad, IDC reported in its second quarter report on tablet and ebook sales.

Apple’s iPad 2 continues to dominate the tablet market, shipping 9.3 million units and achieving a 68.3% share of the worldwide market in the second quarter, IDC found. That’s up from 65.7% in the first quarter, IDC said.

RIM managed to reach 4.9% market share for its PlayBook, which has been widely criticised in part for lacking key software like an email client and for having relatively few available applications, analysts said.

The competition from Apple and RIM put pressure on Android tablets, which lost share in the second quarter, slipping to 26.8% of the market from 34.0% in the first quarter, according to IDC.

In the current quarter, Android will face even more competition, as people snap up fire-sale HP TouchPad’s, IDC said.

HP recently announced it would discontinue the TouchPad, dropping the price to US$99. As a result of the subsequent frenzy that sold out the device in days, HP decided to manufacture an additional run of the devices. IDC expects nearly 1 million TouchPads to ship into the channel before the end of the year.

That means in the third quarter, TouchPads are expected to make up 4.7% of the market and that additional competition will further shrink Android’s share of the market to 23%, IDC said.

However, by the fourth quarter, without the TouchPad competition, Android should start growing again and will reach 25.9%, IDC said. By the first quarter next year, TouchPad market share will reduce to zero, IDC said.

Overall, tablet shipments reached 13.6 million, up by 88.9% in the second quarter compared to the first and 303.8% compared to last year, IDC said. The researchers have upped their forecast for 2011 to 62.5 million tablets, up from a previous expectation of 53.5 million units, IDC added.

IDC also said that Amazon continues to lead the e-reader market, with its Kindle taking 51.7%share, followed by the Barnes & Noble Nook with 21.2% of the market. IDC expects that significant holiday sales will result in a total of 27.0 million e-readers sold this year. It previously projected 16.2 million units would sell.

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