Is Apple Setting Up Android for a TKO?

According to market intelligence firm International Data Corporation, tablet shipments for the first quarter rose 120 percent year-over-year. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reasserted its dominance in the market, growing its share to 68 percent, while Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices took a serious hit.

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IDC Mobile Connected Devices research director Tom Mainelli said in a press release that all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop precipitously after posting big gains during the holiday buying season.

In the first quarter, worldwide table shipments totaled 17.4 million units, increasing from 7.9 million in the same quarter last year. Apple shipped 11.8 million iPads during the quarter, less than the 15.4 million sold in the fourth quarter of 2011, but despite lower overall numbers, Apple increased its share from 54.7 percent off all sales to 68 percent.

Apple’s positioning of the iPad as an all-purpose tablet has resonated well with buyers. In contrast, Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) more content-oriented Kindle Fire tablet, which runs on Android, had its share of the market dry up, dropping from 16.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, to just 4 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Samsung moved into second place, while Amazon fell to third.

Lenovo and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) came in at fourth and fifth place, respectively. B&N announced a $300 million investment from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Monday. Under the deal, B&N will create a Nook application for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8.

Windows 8 is expected to ship in the fourth quarter. The impact the new OS will have on the tablet market is yet to be determined, as pricing on upcoming tablets has not been officially announced. According to IDC, consumer reception to the new OS and its integration will be critical.

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